High hopes? Imran to seek financial aid from Saudi

Islamabad, Oct 19 (UNI) Pakistan Prime Minister would visit Saudi Arabia to seek a financial aid to avoid bailout from International Monetary Fund (IMF).

“The prime minister will visit the Gulf country from October 22 to 23,” sources in the PM’s Office said as quoted by The Express Tribune.

The Prime Minister’s visit to Saudi, second in last five weeks, comes at a time when Pakistan has approached IMF for a financial bailout as the country’s financing gap widened to 12 billion dollars for the remainder period of the current fiscal year.

Mr Khan, who is exploring all options, might be seeking atleast five billion dollars financial aid from Saudi as well as China.

“The prime minister will try to convince the Saudi royal family to approve some financial assistance, as the country is in looking of at least $5 billion in cash from Saudi Arabia and China,” a government official has said.
Last week, Pakistan formally requested the IMF for a bailout package. The talks the IMF for a bailout package is scheduled for November 7.

Mr Khan on Wednesday said that his government may still avoid going to the IMF. 
Pakistan faces grave challenges in meeting its international financial obligations, as the country’s gross official foreign currency reserves have further decreased by 219 million dollars to 8.1 billion dollars.

Such low reserves have weakened the country’s negotiating position with the IMF that is demanding steep currency devaluation and double-digit interest rate.

After the Prime Minister’s first visit to Saudi, a Saudi delegation had visited Pakistan in the first week of October to discuss investment opportunities and provide oil on deferred payments. However no breakthrough could be achieved.

Pakistan had turned down Saudi Arabia’s offer to acquire two LNG-fired power plants only under a sovereign deal.
Saudi Arabia also demanded Pakistan to provide free land, complete security and utility facilities for setting up an oil refinery of over 1,00,000 barrel per day capacity at Gwadar.