Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif made a two-day trip to Qatar.
Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund has agreed to invest some $3 billion into key sectors of Pakistan’s economy, following a visit to the Gulf state by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.
The Qatar Investment Authority, one of the world’s largest wealth funds, announced the plan after talks between the PM and Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani in the Qatari capital on Wednesday.
The two met at the Amiri Diwan on Wednesday morning, the second day of the PM’s first official visit to Doha.
The amir stressed on the importance of supporting and developing strategic relations between Doha and Islamabad, the Amiri Diwan reported.
This include enhancing economic partnership by raising trade exchange and promoting investments through the Qatar Investment Authority, the report said.
Earlier, Sharif extended an invitation to Qatar for investment opportunities in his country’s energy and aviation sectors, during a meeting with the Qatar Investment Authority on Tuesday.
He intended to draw attention to industries like renewable energy, food security, the expansion of businesses and infrastructure, tourism, and hospitality.
“The Prime Minister invited the Qatari businessmen to invest in Pakistan’s energy, aviation, agriculture and livestock, maritime, tourism and hospitality sectors,” a statement from Sharif’s office said, according to Reuters.
Sharif’s trip addressed liquified natural gas (LNG) supply shortages as the new administration in Islamabad tries to navigate through an economic crisis, with energy prices already soaring in light of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Sharif found himself in a gasoline crisis-hit Pakistan that has resulted in blackouts in several areas of the nation. Pakistan also faces a balance of payment crisis as its foreign reserves have fallen as low as $7.8 billion.
The financial assurances also come ahead of an International Monetary Fund (IMF) board meeting on 29 August that could potentially result in the disbursement of $1.2 billion worth of loans.
Arab countries had only agreed to help the South Asian nation once it secured an IMF programme, “while the Washington-based lender has been seeking a commitment from Saudi Arabia,” the report detailed.
Reports have also been surfacing about Pakistan potentially pursuing a 15-year LNG deal with Qatar on a G2G (government to government) basis that includes two cargoes per month with a reopening price clause after 11 years, according to a senior coalition government official’s statement to The News last week.
Islamabad has two long-term LNG supply deals with Qatar to provide up to nine cargoes a month.
“We will surely seek any facility of deferred payments on our LNG deals,” an aide to Sharif told Reuters.