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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and Saudi governments are giving final touches to several pacts including Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) during the forthcoming visit of Saudi Crown Prince and Prime Minister, Muhammad bin Salman to Pakistan, well informed sources told Business Recorder.

Last week, a Pakistani delegation led by Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Resources, Dr Musadik Masood Malik visited Saudi Arabia and met with Saudi Minister for Energy, Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman to devise a mutually agreed course of action on the joint energy initiatives including the establishment of an oil refinery in Pakistan worth billions of dollars.

Last month, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and Saudi Minister for Energy Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman co-chaired a meeting on the proposed agreements during the visit of Saudi Crown Prince to Pakistan.

The sources said, envisaged agreements included Mohmand dam, Neelum-Jehlum hydropower project, Jamshoro power project, Abbottabad–Muzaffarabad road project, construction of two tunnels at Kohori/ Kamer (3.7 km) and ChellaPani (0.6 km), section of Neelum Valley road AJK (ongoing), Jagran-IV hydropower project (pipeline project), Shounter hydropower project, gravity flow water Mansehra project, construction of infrastructure for Malakand Region (ongoing) equipping Hayaseri hospital with medical equipment and furniture, earthquake reconstruction & rehabilitation projects in AJK, Abbottabad (ongoing), grant projects in Balochistan, reconstruction of permanent houses in Awaran, construction of government building Awaran, livelihood restoration in Balochistan, construction of King Salman Hospital Tarlai and construction of F.G Home Economics College (on projects).

The two sides agreed to follow up and activate the agreement on financing and providing supplies of crude oil and petroleum products to Pakistan, signed between Saudi Fund for Development (SFD) and Pakistani government and to discuss the following: (i) extension of the financing agreement signed between SFD and GoP and the provision of supplies of petroleum products to Pakistan; and (ii) supply of LNG to Pakistan subsequent to the completion of the Saudi evaluation of its LNG export potential and infrastructure requirements for LNG liquefaction and export.

MBS, PM take stock of cooperation

During the meeting, secretary Petroleum Division was nominated as focal person from Pakistan side to expedite initiatives in the area of energy cooperation (Aramco Oil Refinery etc.) in consultation with the Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr Musadik Masood Malik.

As per the decision, Minister of State for Petroleum led a delegation to KSA to visit on the invitation extended by Saudi Minister for Energy, Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman on November2-3, 2022 to devise a mutually agreed course of action on the joint energy initiatives.

Both sides agreed to activate the MoU in the field of Mineral Resources. Pakistan side would hold meetings with Saudi Secretary for Mining, CEO, MA’ADEN, and representatives from the Saudi Ministry of Industries would jointly explore available mining opportunities in Pakistan, and support technical research.

Both sides resolved to explore further opportunities of commercial cooperation in near future, especially through increased engagement of the private sector. Minister for Commerce, Syed Naveed Qamar would take the lead and actively engage with his Saudi counterpart to explore further opportunities of commercial cooperation.

Pakistani side appreciated the support extended by SFD in multiple projects of strategic significance, besides the initiatives of rehabilitation of flood affected infrastructure.

Ministry of Planning, Development and Special Initiatives is finalizing projects related to flood rehabilitation. Ministry of Economic Affairs is to ensure signing of four agreements with SFD during the high level visit.

Ministry of Planning, Development and Special Initiatives has been directed to review and update the National Development Plan for identification and sharing of projects with the Saudis through diplomatic channels.

On environmental and agriculture sectors, Ministries of Climate Change and National Food Security and Research have reached out to their relevant Saudi counterparts for deliberating on how Pakistan can be made a part of the Middle East Green Initiative, besides holding discussion on ensuring food security for both countries. Saudi side has agreed to extend its support to assist Pakistan in increasing per acre yield of its crucial crops. Aviation Division to finalise all codal formalities for signing of a Technical Executive Programme in the field of investigation into civil aviation accidents. Ministry of Maritime Affairs, Pakistan will take Saudi side on board and deliberate on the proposals of a direct navigation line to King Abdulaziz Port in Dammam or Jubail Commercial Port and offer Pakistan’s ports for transshipment/ transit purpose.

The sources said Aviation Division would submit finalized draft agreement of Technical Executive Program with Saudi side and ensure signing of the agreement during the high level visit. Ministry of Maritime Affairs has held a meeting with Saudi side to deliberate on this proposal.

On Communication and Information Technology sector, the two sides have decided to coordinate a meeting or a conference call between the Ministries of Telecommunication & IT of both countries to identify areas of joint cooperation in the communication and information technology sector and finalise a few tenable proposals before the upcoming high-level visit of KSA to Pakistan.

Both sides resolved to seek out joint economic projects in near future, including opportunities for Pakistan in the tourism sector in KSA especially in NEOM, Qiddiya and Al-Ulla projects, besides identification of the required facilitation and incentives for investors in both countries.

In this regard, Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC), Ministry of Inter-Provincial Coordination and relevant provincial tourism departments will collaborate on devising a way forward for joint cooperation in the tourism sector with the Saudi side while taking the relevant Saudi counterparts on board.

The Ministries of Investment of both countries will finalise a new draft of Bilateral Investment Treaty along with fulfilment of all codal formalities for signing the document during the forthcoming high-level visit from KSA to Pakistan. Board of Investment has been directed to immediately engage the Saudi Ministry of Investment to finalise draft of BIT.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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