Saudi Arabia has expressed concerns about the protection of its investments and rights in Pakistan, leading to a comprehensive review of the situation and the setting of tight deadlines by Pakistani authorities to facilitate investment in the Reko Diq gold and copper mines.
A Saudi Arabian delegation visited Pakistan and showed interest in major projects, contingent on the resolution of certain issues. Chief of the Army Staff Gen Asim Munir urged immediate planning to attract foreign investment and remove obstacles.
Pakistan aims to secure around $25 billion in investment from Saudi Arabia as part of a $60 to $70 billion investment target under the Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC) umbrella. Saudi Arabia is interested in investing in various sectors, including mines, minerals, power, agriculture, and plasma products.
The Saudi delegation raised concerns about repatriation of dividends, investment protection, dispute resolution mechanisms, and additional benefits on their investments. They are particularly interested in projects by companies like Aramco and ACWA Power.
The SIFC aims to revive Pakistan’s economy and attract foreign investment to reduce reliance on international financial institutions. However, bureaucratic hurdles and outdated procedures have slowed its progress.
To expedite certain projects, Pakistani authorities have set deadlines and exemptions for procurement rules, aiming to capitalize on Saudi Arabia’s interest in the Reko Diq project, among others.