RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s support package of $4.2 billion for Pakistan’s economy is an affirmation of the close relations between the two countries, Pakistan’s Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Bilal Akbar said on Thursday.
Saudi Arabia pledged the assistance to Pakistan as the Saudi Fund for Development on Wednesday announced the issuance of the royal directive to deposit $3 billion into the State Bank of Pakistan to help the Pakistani government to support its foreign currency reserves and assist it in facing the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
In addition, the royal directive was issued to finance the oil derivatives trade with a total amount of $1.2 billion during the year.
The SFD said that these royal directives confirm Saudi Arabia’s continued support for the economy of Pakistan.
Commenting on the economic support package, the Pakistan ambassador told Arab News: “Pakistan-Saudi Arabia relations are very special and are now 75 years old. The relationship is historic, strategic and fraternal, based on common religion and excellent people to people relations.”
“The Kingdom has always stood with Pakistan and this recent assistance is an affirmation of the same. We look forward to continuing our close cooperation and mutual support in all times to come,” said Akbar.
The Saudi aid comes after Prime Minister Imran Khan visited Riyadh for the Middle East Green Initiative, the climate change conference headed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, on Monday.
The prime minister, who met the crown prince on the sidelines of the summit, has also thanked the Kingdom for the support package.
“Saudi Arabia has always been there for Pakistan in our difficult times, including now when the world confronts rising commodity prices,” Khan said in a tweet.
Pakistan’s currency market bounced back on Wednesday to gain 1 rupee against the US dollar in intra-day trading after Saudi Arabia announced its support package.
The rupee closed the previous session at 175.60 against the dollar. It has depreciated around 13.6 percent since May.
In 2018, Saudi Arabia gave Pakistan $3 billion in foreign currency support and further loans worth up to $3 billion in deferred payments for oil imports.
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