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Pakistan, Saudi Arabia expected to make progress on Reko Diq deal

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  • Progress on deal expected during 3-day mineral forum in Riyadh.
  • Energy minister leads high-level Pakistani delegation. 
  • Delegation likely to discuss KSA’s interest in building refinery.

ISLAMABAD: Talks with Saudi Arabia on a potential investment deal in the Reko Diq copper and gold project are expected to progress during a three-day mineral forum that began today in Riyadh, The News reported citing an energy ministry official on Tuesday. 

A high-level Pakistani delegation led by caretaker Energy Minister Muhammad Ali is attending the Future Minerals Forum (FMF), a platform to promote mineral value chains in Africa, Western and Central Asia, which will be held from January 9 to 11 in Riyadh.

The secretary of the petroleum division and officials from the Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC), Pakistan Mineral Development Corporation (PMDC), Oil and Gas Development Company Limited (OGDCL), Pakistan Petroleum Limited (PPL) and Geological Survey of Pakistan (GSP) will also be part of the delegation. 

The delegation is also likely to discuss Saudi Arabia’s interest in building a refinery in Pakistan, the official said.

“Pakistan authorities may also take up this issue of paramount importance with Aramco officials during the visit.” Aramco wants the participation of Sinopec — a Chinese company in the refinery project and Pakistan has agreed to it.

Saudi Arabia is seeking to attract SR63.7 billion ($170 billion) worth of investment in the mining industry by 2030 to help the country capitalise on its wealth of mineral resources, the total value of which is estimated to exceed SR4.88 trillion ($1.3 trillion), an official said.

In 2022, the Geological Survey of Pakistan (GSP) and Ma’aden, a Saudi-owned mining company, developed an understanding for a survey to locate the treasures of the minerals.

Apart from attending the Forum, the official said, the relevant authorities of Saudi Arabia and Pakistan during the visit will also deliberate on the possible investment in the Reko Diq project and both countries may strike a deal to this effect.

In addition, the visiting authorities are also likely to take up with Saudi Arabia its interest in installing a state-of-the-art deep conversion refinery in Pakistan. The SIFC is highly keen to sell government shares to Saudi investors to enhance the footprints of Saudi investment in Pakistan.

The investment that is to be made by Saudi investors (KSA) will be treated as a strategic investment, one official stated to The News, while quoting SIFC’s top official.

Under the revised agreement, 50% of shares are held by the Canadian company Barrick Gold Corporation whereas Antofagasta of Chile has exited the project in return for $900 million deposited by three entities of the federal government — OGDCL, PPL and Government Holdings Private Limited.

These entities hold a 25% share in the project whereas the same number of shares are owned by Balochistan. Of them, 15% are on a fully-funded basis and 10% on a free carried basis.

The Energy Minister Ali and top officials of the power division have played a pivotal role in the directives of SIFC to make an agreement of the government of Pakistan with K Electric and resolve all its issues to facilitate its main owner which is Aljomaih Power Limited Company of Saudi Arabia.

It was one of the conditions from the Kingdom that Pakistan should first facilitate Aljomaih Power Limited of Saudi Arabia by resolving all issues of KE for more investment in Pakistan in mining, refinery, agriculture and other sectors.

The majority shares — 66.4% — of the company are listed in the PSX owned by KES Power, a consortium of investors including Aljomaih Power Limited of Saudi Arabia, National Industries Group (Holding), Kuwait, and the Infrastructure and Growth Capital Fund (IGCF).

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April FDI in Pakistan increased to $358.8 million, according to SBP

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The inflow for April was $358.8 million, up 177% from $132 million in April FY23. Still, that was 39% more than the $258 million from March.

China was the largest investor, with $439.3 million in FDI from the nation between July and April of FY24—the greatest amount—as opposed to $604 million during the same period of FY23. In April, China accounted for $177 million of the total investment.

With $51.93 and 51.89 million invested in Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates and Canada came in second and third, respectively.

The power industry was the main draw for foreign investors in FY24, which ran from July to April. This period’s FDI in the power industry was $637.5 million, compared to $776.2 million the previous year. From $338 million to $460 million this year, Hydel Power garnered more attention.

Continue reading: In FY23–24, Pakistan’s per capita income increased to $1680.

According to a separate data released on Wednesday, Pakistanis’ per capita income increased to $1680 in FY2023–2024.

The size of the national economy grew from $341 billion to $375 billion in the current fiscal year, according to figures made public by PBS.

Throughout this fiscal year, Pakistanis’ yearly per capita income increased by Rs 90,534; the monthly rise was Rs 7,544.

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OGRA forbids the purchase or sale of inferior LPG cylinders.

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The 313 LPG marketing and 19 cylinder-producing companies received notices from the OGRA, which described the act of refilling inferior LPGO cylinders as harmful.

Avoid supplying LPG to unlicensed distributors, the OGRA has cautioned LPG marketing companies. Only approved distributors will be able to sell and buy LPG going forward, per the notification, which states that new SOPs have been developed for the LPG industry.

Additionally, the warning said that the decision was made in an effort to preserve both lives and the business in response to an increase in cylinder blast occurrences.

Price reductions of Rs 20 per kilogramme for liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) were implemented in Quetta on May 3.

There is a reduction of Rs 20 on LPG prices, which means that the price per kilogramme drops from Rs 280 to Rs 260.

The costs of LPG were reduced by Rs 20 per kilogramme earlier, bringing the total decrease to Rs 40 per kilogramme over a few weeks. This is something worth noticing.

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PIA announces a significant student discount.

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According to an airline spokesman, the national flag carrier has recently raised the baggage allowance to 60 kg.

Currently, PIA flies one flight per week on Sundays between Islamabad and Beijing.

The discount may be useful to students who intend to spend their summer vacations in Pakistan or who wish to return home after earning their degrees.

Before, students who wanted to visit China could now receive a 27% reduction on their fares through PIA.

On Eid ul Fitr, the national flag airline also reduced the cost of domestic flights by 20% for both economy and executive economy classes.

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