Investment in Pakistan: Saudi Arabia seeks guarantees


ISLAMABAD: Saudi Arabia has expressed its interest in investing in significant projects in Pakistan, but it has raised concerns regarding the protection of its investments and rights in the country.

During a recent visit by a Saudi Arabian delegation to Pakistan, the delegation expressed its interest in investing in major projects, contingent upon the resolution of specific issues. Saudi Arabia aims to invest in various sectors, including mines, minerals, power, agriculture, and plasma products.

Pakistan is anticipating approximately $25 billion in investment from Saudi Arabia, as part of the $60 to $70 billion it hopes to secure under the SIFC umbrella within the next three to five years, according to The Express Tribune.

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During the visit in the first half of last month, the Saudi delegation outlined the challenges it faced and sought their resolution. One significant issue raised was the impediments in repatriating dividends for foreign investors.

The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) is currently restricting the free outflow of dollars due to the limited foreign exchange reserves, leading to dissatisfaction among both existing and prospective foreign investors.

Additionally, Saudi Arabia inquired about the investment protection framework in place and issues related to dispute resolution mechanisms. The specifics of the additional benefits demanded by the Saudi delegation remain undisclosed.

Of particular concern to the Saudi delegation were investment proposals from two of its companies, Aramco and ACWA Power, which expressed interest in establishing oil refineries and participating in renewable energy projects in Pakistan.

Saudi Arabia has shown a keen interest in making a multibillion-dollar investment in the Reko Diq project. The country’s leadership is eager to capitalize on this opportunity promptly; however, the bankable feasibility study for the project has not yet been completed.


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