Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin informed the Senate on Friday that Pakistan will start using the Saudi oil facility on deferred payments from next month.
Last week, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia agreed to operationalise the kingdom’s oil facility at the earliest for which an agreement worth $1.2 billion for the import of petroleum products was signed on November 29, 2021, between the two countries.
As per the financing agreement, the Saudi Fund for Development (SFD) will extend the financing facility up to $100 million per month for one year for the purchase of petroleum products on a deferred payment basis.
During the question hour in the Upper House of the parliament held earlier today, the minister said: “Pakistan received $3 billion dollars from Saudi Arabia in the month of December 2021 for a period of one year at four per cent interest rate.”
Talking about the rising oil prices, he said the government has tried not to pass the full burden of the international increase in petroleum products on to the people.
He also said the finance ministry had reduced the sales tax and Petroleum Development Levy (PDL) on petroleum products to provide relief to the masses.
Tarin mentioned that “the foreign exchange reserves of the State Bank of Pakistan have increased over the last year, which will help reduce pressure on the rupee,” adding that the country’s exports and remittances were also increasing whilst the trade deficit reduced by $1.5 billion dollars last month.
Responding to a question about the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the finance minister said Pakistan has met 27 out of 28 conditions of the FATF.
“We have fulfilled our targets and hope the country will come out of the grey list in the next review meeting of the FATF,” he added.
Separately, Minister for Science and Technology Shibli Faraz told the Senate that Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) governments have started important projects for the provision of clean drinking water.
“Capital Development Authority and Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources have collectively started a project for recharging groundwater level,” Shibli said.
Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammad Khan added that several projects worth billions of rupees have been launched for the development of Balochistan and Gwadar.
During the session, Leader of the House in the Senate Shahzad Waseem regretted the silence of international human rights organisations over the rising religious hatred and extremism in India.
Alluding to the harassment of a Muslim girl wearing hijab in Karnataka, he said the worst form of Islamophobia was being seen in India which poses a threat to peace and stability in the region.