Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif (L) meets with Qatari Ameer Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani. — APP

Qatar’s wealth fund to invest $3b in Pakistan

by Pakistan News
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Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif (L) meets with Qatari Ameer Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani. — APP

Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) intends to make investments worth $3 billion in Pakistan, Qatar’s Emiri Diwan confirmed on Wednesday saying that the intention is to lend support to the country’s struggling economy.

“The Qatar Investment Authority announced its aspiration to invest $3 billion in various commercial and investment sectors in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan,” the Emiri Diwan said, without specifying details about the plan.

The announcement regarding the plan comes during Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif’s visit to Doha. Following a meeting with the QIA during his official visit, PM Shahbaz also held talks with Qatari Ameer Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani.

In a statement released by the Emiri Diwan, the Qatari Ameer stressed on the “importance of the brotherly and strategic relations” between Qatar and Pakistan. He also emphasised on the countries’ aspiration to “enhance economic partnership by raising trade exchange and promoting investments” with support from QIA.

According to Bloomberg, the gulf nation’s sovereign wealth fund was analyzing strategic investments in Pakistan’s key economic sectors.

The publication added that experts state that these investments could be made in the South Asian country’s “main airports in Islamabad and Karachi, as well as in the renewable energy, power and hospitality sectors”.

Citing an official, the publication wrote that the Qatari sovereign wealth fund’s could somewhat overlap with the already planned fund worth $2 billion in bilateral support coming in from Qatar to Pakistan.

“The fund may end up investing more or less than $3 billion depending on the asset valuations and opportunities, the people said, without sharing a time frame,” Bloomberg wrote.

The gulf nation’s funding comes at a time when Pakistan is in desperate need to evade default and bolster its foreign reserves. At present, Pakistan’s currency continues to lose ground against the dollar with inflation incessantly skyrocketing.

PM Shahbaz expected to   offer  Qatar with stakes in  SOEs

Earlier, PM Shahbaz was expected to offer stakes to the gulf nation in its state-owned enterprises (SOEs), including share in the state owned Roosevelt Hotel in New York and Pakistan International Airlines running at a loss.

PM Shahbaz was expected to offer Qatar the opportunity to oversee Pakistan’s airports. PM’s aides added that he also hoped to make energy deals.

For the liquefied natural gas (LNG) bought from Qatar under long-term deals, Pakistan — a major importer of LNG from the gulf country — also aimed to seek a deferred payment plan.

The country has signed two long-term LNG supply deals with the gulf nation through which up to nine cargoes a month will arrive in Pakistan.

During his meeting with Qatar’s Ameer, PM Shahbaz agreed to encourage cooperation in various sectors, while matters of bilateral and mutual interests also came under discussion.

Prime Minister Shahbaz’s visit to Doha came ahead of the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) executive board meeting, which is slated for August 29 in Washington. During the meeting, the financial institution will consider Pakistan’s request to revive its loan programme which remains halted for a while.

As a condition to bag the loan, IMF has asked Pakistan to seek $4 billion from friendly nations, which the country has managed to secure funds through Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Qatar.

Saudia Arabia will be providing $1 billion in oil financing to Pakistan, while the United Arab Emirates will make investments of similar amount.

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