THE PROSPECTS FOR SAUDI INVESTMENT
Prince Walid also expressed his interest in the development of Gwadar Port industrial area
From SHAMIM AHMED RIZVI,
June 23 - 29, 2003
President Pervez Musharraf's short visit to Saudi Arabia last week has not only helped in bringing two brotherly countries still closer to cash other but has also provided fresh momentum to the ongoing efforts to enhance cooperation in economic field. An eight-member investors delegation from Saudi Arabia was visiting Pakistan to find new avenues of cooperation when President Musharraf was holding talks with King Fahad bin Abdul Aziz and crown Prince Abdullah.
The visiting eight-member investors delegation from Saudi Arabia, led by Prince Walid Al Saygh, Vice Chairman, Kanooz Group, has shown keen interest in investment in the country's financial, power, housing and agriculture sectors. The interest was shown by the Saudi delegation during a meeting with Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, Minister for Privatisation and Investment. Prince Walid Al Saygh said that his group was keen to participate in the privatisaion process of Habib Bank Limited (HBL), National Investment Trust Limited (NITL) and Karachi Electric Supply Corporation (KESC). Having value-added expertise in the agro-based area, we intend to collaborate in the processing, grading, packing, storage and transportation of fruits and vegetables for export to Europe and other parts of the world, he added.
Prince Walid also expressed his interest in the development of Gwadar Port industrial area to bring in Saudi investment to Pakistan, terming the country as the most investment friendly country and said that excellent assistance was being provided to facilitate investors.
The visiting team signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for estabilishing "Pakistan-Saudi Arabia Investment Group" to boost economic and industrial cooperation between the two countries.
According to MoU, six members would be nominated from each side and Walid Al Saygh will be Chairman and Federal Minister, Liaquat Ali Jatoi will be Co-Chairman of the Group. The group would identify and initiate private sector projects in key areas of the Pakistan economy, including the projects offered for privatisation. The Group will select investment opportunities in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia will muster ways and means to materialise the projects. It would also address matters of key importance to the private sector, where it believes that one or both government can make a difference to investment facilitation.
The two sides have identified various projects of food processing, service sector and infrastructure development for the industrial sector.
Pakistan's bilateral relationship with Saudi Arabia is a truly multi-dimensional phenomenon. It is an equation not merely between two states but two brothers. In many ways, Pakistan feels closer to Saudi Arabia than any other state or nation. The fact that Saudi royal family is also the Khadimain-e-Harmain-Sharifain plays an abiding part. But all said and done the basic interests of two converge into a unity that is unique. The two have so much in common — common interest and common concerns, too.
Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have always enjoyed deeper and time-tested relations. Their friction-free and cooperative relationship can be described as a model in the Third World in general and the Muslim world in particular. People of Pakistan can never forget the valuable assistance provided by the Kingdom during periods of crisis. Saudi Arabia has remained in the forefront of the efforts to help Pakistan overcome its economic problems. The Saudi Arabian concerned about welfare of Pakistani people can be judged by the fact that its leadership made tremendous contribution in calming down political tempers in the country so as to bring stability. Similarly, the Government and people of Pakistan have tremendous sentiments of good will for people and the ruling house of Saudi Arabia. It is in this background that people of Pakistan have been expressing anguish over attempts by some forces to destabilise the Kingdom that is a source of religious and political inspiration for the Muslim Ummah. Therefore, the remarks of Crown Prince Abdullah amply reflect the depth of the ties between the two countries. He has described them a "excellent, brotherly and solid". President's visit has given a new dimension to this friendship.