ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Finance Asad Umar said on Thursday that Saudi Arabia is about to make “the largest foreign investment in Pakistan’s history” which he will announce soon.
While addressing a ceremony, the foreign minister asserted, “The ball is in our court. We have to get cabinet approval next week, after which an announcement will be made.”
Umar added that he keeps receiving messages from Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman “through other people” asking him to expedite the process.
The statement comes after Islamabad and Riyadh were recently in talks over a bailout deal. Prime Minister Imran Khan attended an investment conference in Saudi, inviting foreign investors to put their money into projects in Pakistan at a time when various foreign countries and business delegations were pulling out of it after the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
It was the premier’s second visit to Saudi since assuming office, and came as Pakistan was on the lookout for friendly nations to court in search of billions of dollar to shore up its deteriorating finances in the face of a balance of payments crisis and talks with the IMF over a possible bailout.
‘GOVT TO END CORRUPTION’:
Umar also said that the government is set to bring an end to corruption in the country and making it a welfare state.
He stated that the people want accountability of the corrupt, adding that “to serve justice, we should send those who are corrupt to jail”.
“People ask me when the corrupt will be sent to prison,” Umar said, adding that “exports fell drastically from $25 billion to $21 billion due to fluctuation in the exchange rate during the previous government’s tenure”.
“Exchange rate is an economic variable, and can’t be adjusted on an individual’s will,” the finance minister said further.
“Such decisions were taken by the former prime minister [Nawaz Sharif] to take the country on the brink of destruction, he had no constitutional right to do so,” said Umar while criticising the fiscal and monetary policies of the PML-N government.
“Internationally, specialised institutions make financial decisions, while the court, which is an autonomous entity serves justice,” he further said.
“A society can not progress without eradication of corruption,” said the finance minister, adding that “the government is focusing on bringing about an economic revival”.
Umar concluded the address by saying that he “respects those who work for the betterment of the country and the welfare of its people”.