Saudis to give Pakistan $122m in aid

Published: March 11, 2016
Email
PHOTO: PID

PHOTO: PID

PHOTO: PID Finance Minister Ishaq Dar witnessing the signing ceremony of agreements between EAD and Saudi Fund for Development. PHOTO: APP

ISLAMABAD: Saudi Arabia increased financial assistance to Pakistan and signed an agreement of $122 million in economic aid on Thursday, the highest amount Riyadh has officially given to Islamabad in the last five years.

The signing ceremony for the grant, which includes a $67 million package, took place the day Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and army chief General Raheel Sharif were attending the closing ceremony of the multi-nation ‘Thunder of the North’ military exercise in Saudi Arabia.

US budget 2016-17: Obama proposes $860m aid for Pakistan

Pakistan is a member of the military alliance of Muslim countries that Saudi Arabia formed late last year to fight terrorism. However, officials privy to developments said the signing ceremony had nothing to do with the country’s contribution to the 34-nation coalition.

The $67 million grant is the highest that the Kingdom has given Pakistan in the last eight years. Saudi Arabia had in 2013-14 ‘gifted’ Pakistan $1.5 billion, but the two countries have till date not signed any agreement over the sum even though the amount has been disbursed. Many observers had linked the $1.5 billion grant with Pakistan’s military role in the Gulf.

The new assistance, though insignificant, can indicate improved economic ties between Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, experts said.

The $122 million assistance is not part of the $9.2 billon that Pakistan anticipated it would receive during the current fiscal year – budget documents show anticipated Saudi assistance is only $17.5 million, $4.3 million of which Islamabad has already received. This suggests the fresh aid was negotiated over the last few months.

US seeks 10% cut in economic assistance to Pakistan

Economic Affairs Division (EAD) Secretary Tariq Bajwa and Vice Chairman and Managing Director of the Saudi Fund for Development (SFD )Yousaf Ibrahim al Bassam  signed five grant agreements valuing $67 million and a loan agreement of $55 million, according to EAD. Finance Minister Ishaq Dar witnessed the signing ceremony.

The $6 million grant has been given for construction of the Home Economics and Management Science College in Islamabad, $20 million for the construction of Islamabad General Hospital and $26 million for reconstruction of permanent houses in earthquake affected areas and livelihood restoration in Balochistan. The loan has been given for construction of two tunnels at Chella Bandi-Patika road, Muzaffarabad.

Historical trend

Over the last five years, Saudi Arabia disbursed only $343.8 million to Pakistan, averaging $68.8 million per annum. Out of this sum, the grant component was just $14.3 million or $2.9 million per annum. The remaining amount was loaned. In the last fiscal year, Saudi Arabia gave $55.5 million to Pakistan that includes a $12.8 million grant.

However, the commitments were more than $348 million and the rest of the amount could not be disbursed due to multiple reasons.

Assistance from Japan

Japan also announced a $9.5 million grant on Thursday to help Pakistan fight illicit drug trade and eradicate polio.

EU to give €653m in aid to Pakistan

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the Japanese embassy signed an agreement to provide Pakistan $6.5 million to boost law enforcement agencies’ abilities to disrupt drug trafficking. Japan also announced it will give $3 million to Pakistan to procure vaccines for a three-day campaign.

 

Published in The Express Tribune, March 11th, 2016.

Facebook Conversations

Reader Comments (23)

  • SK
    Mar 11, 2016 - 8:44AM

    so we are being sold yet again- next move could be to take Saudi side in Saudi Iran conflictRecommend

  • Abbas
    Mar 11, 2016 - 9:10AM

    Picture show that if you need more pls visit against we will give you.Recommend

  • Mar 11, 2016 - 9:49AM

    THIS Year pakistan has to pay 8 billion dollars foreign loan which imf promised that they will take care of that so its good ,have it.Recommend

  • Xnain
    Mar 11, 2016 - 9:52AM

    More aid, means more demands. In the end Pakistan would have no choice but to Nuke both Riyadh and Tehran to pull out of this typhoon of evil between the two poles.Recommend

  • Haji Atiya
    Mar 11, 2016 - 10:39AM

    Of course “Money Talks”. NS should study the book: “Friends not Masters” authored by that Field Marshal of Field Marshals, Ayub Khan.Recommend

  • Abbas
    Mar 11, 2016 - 11:13AM

    After this visit , the visit of President Hassan Rouhani is useless.Recommend

  • Saad
    Mar 11, 2016 - 11:46AM

    Do more !! Amount is too small.Recommend

  • Aakashvaani
    Mar 11, 2016 - 12:08PM

    Iranj could not offer a better BID otherwise Pakistan would be in a different bed right now.Recommend

  • Perplexed
    Mar 11, 2016 - 12:26PM

    I cant understand why Pakistan is cringing over 10-20 million dollars. For a country of 200 million thats is not even peanuts. For this small amount they are sacrificing their sovereignity to the Saudis. For all its bombast when it comes to India; when it comes to dealing with other countries Pakistan doesn’t show even the slightest hint of self-respect.Recommend

  • Saudi King
    Mar 11, 2016 - 1:30PM

    Saudis to give $122m in aid for one of their provinces!Recommend

  • Usman
    Mar 11, 2016 - 1:48PM

    @Perplexed: It’s because the people have no self respect, and actually mock someone (like Imran Khan) who tried to teach them.Recommend

  • RF
    Mar 11, 2016 - 4:12PM

    Please Pakistan don’t do it! It’s a disgrace.Recommend

  • Mar 11, 2016 - 4:26PM

    Beg, beg, and continue to accept dole outs to SHAME THE CITIZENS. What is the need to accept this aid? Just see the happy look on the PM’s face. Shameless! Recommend

  • Mar 11, 2016 - 4:39PM

    This explicitly shows that Pakistan’s’ Foreign Policy will very likely to be dictated and guided by Saudis in the face of Middle East conflict, which is being fanned truly on sectarian grounds. Going by this, not only Pakistan would lose its Sovereignty but would also override its National Interests in the wake of Global Socio-Economic and Political-strategic changes taking place around the world. It’s high time Pakistan took a neutral stance specifically on Middle Eastern conflict and lead from the front in order to rationalize the key players deeply involved in the proxy war and to get them detached from the ideological corners, so that an amicable and negotiating atmosphere could be developed where all could come on a single page in the broader interest of Muslim Ummah. Unless we have a free and independent Policy both internal and external, change would remain as a distant dream for the entire Nation.Recommend

  • Farhan Khan
    Mar 11, 2016 - 6:03PM

    @SK: As a majority Sunni state, Saudi Arabia is Pakistan’s natural allyRecommend

  • bash gul
    Mar 11, 2016 - 7:05PM

    Saudis are hypocrites. They will never pay the full rights to the Pakistani who works for more than half of his life in the Govt sector, and change any agreement according to their whims without informing the contractee. The Saudi bureaucrats have so much hatred for the foreigners especially in the public sector, when they kick out a foreigner, they have another feather in their hat.Recommend

  • Indian
    Mar 11, 2016 - 8:19PM

    So SA aid dropped from $1.5 Billion to just $122 million, Malaysia PM got $ 1 Billion from SA last most. Recommend

  • Babbarsher Khan
    Mar 12, 2016 - 12:34AM

    No strings attached; very difficult to believe! Saudi themselves are crying for US$8 billion loan from international financial institutions this year to tide over the big hole they have in their budget. Khudmukhtari khatare mein!! They want to drag us in their dirty and deadly war! Recommend

  • Javad
    Mar 12, 2016 - 12:47AM

    @Xnain: Unfortunately you don’t realize how damaging your statement is to Pakistan. Dropping any bomb on Tehran is going to cost Pakistan a lot. If you don’t believe me, go find Saddam Hussein and ask him.Recommend

  • Sandip
    Mar 12, 2016 - 7:41AM

    So the payment for performing watchmen duty is $122m. Pretty good.Recommend

  • Aditya
    Mar 12, 2016 - 9:42AM

    So, Pakistanis have new master!Recommend

  • David
    Mar 12, 2016 - 10:55AM

    @Xnain: Are you trying to be funny or something else? This is my second comment I am leaving to be published first one was objectionable to Tribune while there was nothing wrong with it. Doesn’t Pakistan have enough problems of all sort? Now you make enemy of Iranians? Pakistan is having problems financially to finish an oil pipeline. Try to be constructive for your country. I know the situation makes lots of youth in Pakistan sadden.
    You or anyone else has to think twice to talk about nuking Iran.Recommend

  • Woz ahmed
    Mar 13, 2016 - 7:54AM

    $67 million in aid ,$55 million loan.

    35 cents per citizen in aid, cheap.

    I doubt $67 million would cover a weeks holiday for a Saudi prince and entourage.Recommend

More in Pakistan