Saudi Arabia to activate Pakistan’s deferred oil payments facility from July 1

Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, the Pakistani prime minister’s advisor on finance. (AFP/File)
Updated 24 May 2019
0

Saudi Arabia to activate Pakistan’s deferred oil payments facility from July 1

  • Islamabad will receive $3.2 billion per year for three years to help stave off current account crisis
  • Pakistani finance adviser thanks Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman for his “continuous support”

ISLAMABAD: Saudi Arabia will activate a deferred payment facility for oil imports to Pakistan starting July 1, Pakistan’s top finance official said on Wednesday, a move that will see Islamabad receive $3.2 billion per year for three years.
The facility is badly needed at a time when Pakistan’s rupee reached a new record low this week, selling at 153 against the dollar in the interbank market on Monday to continue a slide that saw it lose more than 5 percent last week. The devaluation comes after Pakistan signed a $6 billion loan accord with the International Monetary Fund which has harsh reform conditions attached to it.
“1st July 2019 KSA is activating the deferred payment for petroleum products facility of $ 275mn per month amounting to $3.2 Billion per year for 3 years,” Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, the Pakistani prime minister’s adviser on finance, said in a Twitter post. “This will strengthen Pakistan’s Balance of Payments position.”
“Would like to Thank The Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, His Highness Muhammad Bin Salman for his continuous support for the people of Pakistan,” Shaikh said.


Last year, Saudi Arabia agreed to give Pakistan $3 billion in foreign currency support for a year and a further loan in deferred payments for oil imports.
Pakistan’s central bank raised its key interest rate to 12.25% on Monday, warning that already soaring inflation risked further rises on the back of higher oil prices and reforms required for the new IMF bailout.
The 150 basis points increase follows a preliminary agreement last week with the IMF for a $6 billion loan that is expected to come with tough conditions, including raising more tax revenues and putting up gas and power prices. It was the eighth time the central bank has increased its main policy rate since the start of last year.
With economic growth set to slow to 2.9% this year from 5.2% last year, according to IMF forecasts, the rate rise adds to pressure on Prime Minister Imran Khan, who came to power last year facing a balance of payments crisis that has now forced his government to turn to the IMF.
Higher prices for basic essentials including food and energy has already stirred public anger but the central bank suggested there was little prospect of any immediate improvement.


PPP, PML-N to challenge ‘anti-people policies’ of government

Updated 16 June 2019
0

PPP, PML-N to challenge ‘anti-people policies’ of government

  • Maryam Nawaz and Bilawal Bhutto hold an important political meeting in Lahore
  • Analysts say their proposed campaign against government can put PTI in difficult situation

LAHORE: Leaders of Pakistan’s two largest opposition parties held a meeting here on Sunday to devise a joint strategy against the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government and run a coordinated campaign against its “anti-people policies.”
The gathering was organized by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Vice President Maryam Sharif who invited Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari to jointly review the country’s prevailing political situation.
Together the two young politicians agreed to revive the May 2006 Charter of Democracy, signed by their parents in London, to strengthen parliamentary democracy in Pakistan and challenge the incumbent administration.
“The two parties discussed the current situation of the country and decided to work together to get rid of the anti-people policies [of the PTI government]. In the first phase, a joint strategy will be evolved which will help the two factions work together in parliament. The leaders of the parties will also meet to formulate a strategy to work outside the parliament,” PPP Punjab Secretary General Chaudhry Manzoor Ahmed, who was present at the meeting, told Arab News.
A senior PML-N politician thought the meeting would prove beneficial for Pakistan’s future politics since the two parties were operating under a young leadership.
“The two young leaders have become successful in convincing their parties regarding their approach and style of politics. Their parents may have a history of friendship and enmity, but these two have no bad blood between them. They share the same woes and want to work together to take the country forward,” Senator Pervaiz Rasheed, another participant of the meeting, said.
Maryam Sharif and Bilawal Bhutto also discussed the fresh wave of the arrests of opposition leaders and thought it was to terrify the opponents of the government.
The PPP chairman said in a media talk after the meeting that the opposition would not be deterred by such political pressure. He also pointed out that no single party could take the country out of the present political and economic situation, adding it would require a collaborative effort.
The two leaders decided they would not let the PTI government pass the national budget, saying it was making life difficult for the people of Pakistan. They also agreed to involve other parliamentary forces to achieve that objective.
The PPP chairman and PML-N vice president demanded the administration to withdraw corruption references filed against their family members and insisted the National Assembly speaker issue production orders of all jailed members of parliament.
While some of the government ministers ridiculed the meeting, independent analysts thought it could create problems for the PTI administration.
“The PTI has pushed the main leaders of the PPP and PML-N against the wall. The proposed joint movement of these opposition faction can put the ruling party in hot water,” Arif Nizami, a senior analyst, told Arab News.