Saudi Arabia is likely to invest in the expansion
of Pakistan Refinery, as the Kingdom’s investment minister on Thursday agreed
that his government would take a decision on the refinery plan after evaluating
viability of the project.

The decision was taken at a meeting between the minister of state
and chairman Board of Investment (BOI), Muhammad Azfar Ahsan and Saudi Arabia’s
Minister for Investment, Khalid Al-Falih in Tashkent.

“It was agreed that shovel-ready projects, including the expansion
project of Pakistan Refinery, will be evaluated by Saudi government,” a BOI
statement said.

Both sides discussed the plan for devising a long-term strategy to
create an atmosphere of investment facilitation in both countries and vowed to
strengthen bilateral trade and investment ties.

They underscored the need for increased collaboration and
investment in various sectors, including agriculture, food processing, mining,
renewable energy, refinery, petrochemicals, information technology, etc, and vowed
to strengthen business and economic ties.

The Saudi minister expressed the need for more significant mutual
investments in different fields and proposed to create a joint team between BOI
and NCPP to finalise investment projects in Pakistan.

BOI chairman briefed the Saudi investor in detail about the
investment regime of Pakistan. He shared that Pakistan was taking measures to
increase both savings and investment to augment the employment-generating
ability of the economy and raise resource availability for investment.

Falih was also apprised by the Overseas Investors Chamber of
Commerce and Industry (OICCI) report, which illustrates that a vast majority of
investors in Pakistan were optimistic about the growth potential of the country
and ranked it better than 6 out of 10 regional countries in terms of investment
opportunities and growth.

Ahsan sensitised the Saudi minister about measures taken by BOI to
reduce the compliance burden in the SME sector and briefed about the Pakistan
Regulatory Modernization Initiative (PRMI). He also mentioned the special
incentives offered to investors in special economic zones (SEZs) with an
overall objective to accomplish economic and industrial development goals.

Saudi Arabia’s investment minister was highly appreciative of the
initiatives introduced by the government of Pakistan to facilitate investment
in the country.

He invited the BOI team to visit Saudi Arabia and relevant
stakeholders to market investment projects from the public and private sector
and shared that he would soon visit Pakistan to provide an impetus to bilateral
economic cooperation between the two countries.

National Companies Promotion Program (NCPP) CEO Badr Al Badr, ACWA
Power Chairman Mohammad Abunayyan, and Saudi Ambassador in Uzbekistan were also
present in the meeting.


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