Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Ishaq Dar said that a delegation from Pakistan, led by Minister of State for Petroleum Musadik Malik, will leave for Russia on November 28 (Monday) to negotiate a potential oil deal with Moscow.
“The government has authorised the Ministry of Petroleum, and on Monday, our team will leave for Russia for negotiations,” said Dar while talking to 24 News on Friday night. “I had a meeting with the Petroleum Minister and he confirmed the development to me.
“We should pray that the visit is successful and the government manages to secure a deal on favourable terms and conditions."
Earlier this month, Dar had said that during his visit to the US in October, he met officials and took up the issue of oil purchase from Russia.
He said back then, he told the American authorities that Washington could not stop Pakistan from buying the commodity from Russia because neighbouring India has also been doing the same.
On Friday, Dar said that the US officials told him that they are set to build a G7 pricing committee, to determine the cap for the Russian oil purchase rate, he said.
“I would like to inform you that the said committee has been formed,” he said.
Purchase of Russian crude at cheaper rates has become a hot topic in recent months as prices of energy commodities increase significantly. This has been painful especially for developing economies like Pakistan, which rely heavily on petroleum imports to meet their energy needs.
As per data provided by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), Pakistan imported petroleum products worth $7.547 billion during the first four months of the ongoing fiscal year.
Dar admitted that Pakistan's neighbour India has managed to secure a ‘very good deal’ from Russia. “India enjoys historic ties with Russia, which gives them an edge over us,” he said.
'Nowhere near default'
Moreover, Dar reiterated that Pakistan is "nowhere near default", and will pay all its payment obligations on time.
On Friday, State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Governor Jameel Ahmad also told a briefing that Pakistan will repay a $1 billion international bond on December 2, three days before its due date.
There has been growing uncertainty about the ability of Pakistan to meet external financing obligations with the country in the midst of an economic crisis and recovering from devastating floods that killed over 1,700 people.
The bond repayment, which matures on December 5, totals $1.08 billion, Ahmad told the briefing, according to two analysts who were present.