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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have started deliberations on enhancing cooperation in the field of medical tourism and the pharmaceutical industry.

In this connection, a high-level meeting was held here on Thursday between the Ambassador of Saudi Arabia, Nawaf Saeed Al Malkiy, and Caretaker Federal Minister for National Health Services and Regulations Dr Nadeem Jan.

An official of the Health Ministry, who attended the meeting along with other relevant officials, said that the Saudi ambassador while congratulating the minister on assuming the charge of the Ministry of Health said that Saudi Arabia is keen to cooperate with Pakistan in the health sector like other sectors.

The official said that the government of Pakistan is committed to facilitate investment in the pharma sector and within the next two years aims to enhance the pharma industry’s exports to $1 billion from current over $350 million level.

The government of Pakistan is aiming to increase the pharma industry’s exports to $5 billion in the next five years for which necessary arrangements including giving incentives to the industry are being worked out, the official said.

The health minister elaborated his integrated agenda for the development of the health sector as per the vision of the caretaker prime minister. He shared that Pakistan is the first country in the world to organise the Global Health Security Summit. “We have formulated an integrated strategy to increase the export of the pharma industry. Effective measures are being taken to increase the capacity of the pharma industry,” the minister said.

It was agreed to promote medical tourism in this sector, which has vast potential for investment as thousands of Pakistani health professionals are serving in Saudi Arabia.

The Saudi envoy appreciated the creation of the Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC),saying it was a good initiative which would help promote investment in the country. The Saudi ambassador remarked that his country will benefit from Pakistan’s medical sector.

He said that during the meeting, bilateral cooperation, and issues of mutual interest were discussed. The minister acknowledged and appreciated Saudi Arabia’s deep commitment to Pakistan and the welfare of its people.

Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have historical and religious fraternal relations, he added. In every hour of difficulty, Saudi Arabia has supported Pakistan. The hearts of the people of both countries beat in unison.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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