Pakistan turns to overseas nationals to fix economy

By BLOOMBERG

ISLAMABAD • Pakistan will raise US$500 million (RM2.06 billion) in March through a fund aimed at its nationals living overseas, as South Asia’s second-biggest economy seeks investment after averting a balance-of payment crisis.

Pakistani citizens living abroad will be asked to invest in the fund managed by the Board of Investment and the central bank, Haroon Sharif, the chairman of the state-run agency, said in an interview in Islamabad. Prime Minister Imran Khan’s administration will also sell a so-called diaspora bond in January, Finance Ministry spokesman Khaqan Hassan Najeeb said in a separate interview last Friday.

Khan’s six-month-old government is tapping different sources to overcome a nearly US$12 billion financing gap and boost its dwindling foreign reserves. He has already secured US$6 billion in loans from friendly nations, including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Finance Minister Asad Umar said last week an investment package with China is almost complete, while talks with the International Monetary Fund for a bailout loan are ongoing.

An accord with Riyadh for US$3 billion of oil supply on deferred payments will be signed during Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Salman’s likely visit to Pakistan in mid-February, Sharif said.

Separately, he said, Pakistan has received “concrete” investment proposals of up to US$40 billion from China, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Malaysia and South Korea. — Bloomberg