Pakistan to seek additional $3.2bn Saudi aid package

Pakistan has decided to seek an additional package of $3.2 billion from Saudi Arabia which will increase the total financial assistance package to $7.4 billion from the existing $4.2 billion in order to avert further depletion of foreign currency reserves.

The request will be made during Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s three-day official visit to Saudi Arabia that would begin on April 28 (Thursday).

According to finance ministry officials, Pakistan has decided to seek a $7.4 billion financial assistance package from Saudi Arabia in the shape of cash deposits and oil on deferred payments.

“Pakistan will also make a request to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for rollover of the existing package of $4.2 billion for one year till June 2023,” the source within finance ministry told.

PM Shehbaz led coalition government will also request the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to double the Saudi Oil Facility (SOF) from $1.2 billion to $2.4 billion, they added.

It is worth mentioning here that Islamabad has already asked the Fund to extend the existing Extended Fund Facility (EFF) for nine months till June 2023 coupled with increasing the size of the programme from $6 billion to $8 billion.

According to Foreign Office, the newly-appointed PM Shehbaz Sharif is visiting Saudi Arabia at the invitation of Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, Crown Prince of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

This would be the prime minister’s first visit abroad after assuming Office earlier this month. The premier will be accompanied by a high-level delegation, including key members of the cabinet.

During the visit, PM Shehbaz Sharif will have bilateral interaction with the Saudi leadership, with particular focus on advancing economic, trade and investment ties and creation of greater opportunities for the Pakistani workforce in Saudi Arabia.

The two sides will also exchange views on a range of regional and international issues of mutual interest.

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