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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan is to seek long-term and short-term Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) contracts with Qatar in addition to offering the latter the establishment of offshore LNG terminal and a stake in Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), well-informed sources told Business Recorder. This strategy was devised by the government at a meeting convened in relation to Prime Minister’s visit to Qatar scheduled for August 23-24, 2022.

During a meeting on August 11, 2022, to review progress on his upcoming visit to Qatar, the prime minister had ordered the creation of following committees to resolve the issues related to various ministries.

Committee for Power, Petroleum, Aviation and other sectors would consist of (i) Minister for Defence Khawaja Asif (Convener); (ii) former PM Shahid Khaqan Abbasi (co-convener); (iii) Minister for Finance Dr Miftah Ismail; (iv) Secretary Finance; (v) Ahad Khan Cheema, Prime Minister Advisor on Establishment; (vi) Minister/Secretary Power Division; (vii) Minister/ Secretary Petroleum Division; (viii) Minister/Secretary Aviation Division; (ix) Jehanzeb Khan SAPM and; (x) Secretary Privatisation.

The Committee for bulk cargo (Q-Terminals) KPT is headed by Minister for Maritime Affairs Senator Faisal Sabzwari. Minister for National Food Security and Research Tariq Bashir Cheema is heading Committee on Agriculture. Other members of the Committee include Minister of State for Petroleum Musadik Masood Malik and Secretary National Food Security & Research.

Commerce Minister Syed Naveed Qamar had been appointed as head of the Committee for recruitment of security personnel for upcoming FIFA Cup. The other members will include Minister and Secretary Overseas Pakistani and Human Resource Development.

The PM also directed SAPM Syed Tariq Fatemi and Foreign Secretary Sohail Ahmed to attend all meetings of the Committee.

PM likely to cut new LNG deal with Qatar

Ministry of National Food Security & Research, in its presentation outlined Qatar’s food security requirements, Pakistan’s available potential to meet those requirements and an update on the willingness of the provinces to lease out land to foreign companies.

According to sources, based on the input of Ministry of National Food Security & Research, a world class presentation (print/video with Arabic subtitles) will be prepared by the professionals. This exercise will be completed at the earliest and by the Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Minister for State for Petroleum, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Public Policy and Strategic Communications and Coordinator to the Prime Minister on Economy and Energy.

The sources maintained that Committee on Power, Petroleum and Aviation and other sectors shared its evaluation exercise for the sale of two power plants. Privatisation Commission has been directed to re-engage Credit Suisse for this exercise.

The sources further stated that the meeting has decided that Qatar may be offered to proceed with the establishment of an off-shore LNG terminal. The Qatari side will also be approached to ink LNG long-term and short-term contracts.

A certain stake may be offered to Qatar in a joint venture for management of Roosevelt Hotel in addition to management of airport(s). Aviation Division gave a presentation on management of airport(s), management of Roosevelt Hotel and privatisation of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA).

The Ministry of Finance has been directed to explore possibility of offering stakes/shares of State Owned Enterprises (SOEs) to Qatar.

Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development gave a presentation on recruitment of security/labour personnel for upcoming FIFA Cup 2022 and opening of new QVCs.

Ministry of Maritime Affairs will give presentation on matters pertaining to bulk cargo (Q-terminals) at KPT.

Prime Minister is also expected to undertake visit to United Arab Emirates (UAE), wherein he would also offer stakes in SOEs though there are reports that the option of buy back will be part of the contract.

On August 15, 2022, an inter-ministerial meeting was held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs under the chair of Additional Secretary (ME), to discuss the upcoming visit of the Prime Minister to the UAE.

In a preliminary discussion it was decided that all concerned Ministries/departments would share updated status/brief on topics which came under discussion, including list of Agreements/MoU between Pakistan-UAE which are expected to be signed during the visit.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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