Imran Khan and Prince Mohammed Bin Salman during an MoU signing ceremony. File
Pakistan has returned $1 billion to Saudi Arabia as a second installment of a $3 billion soft loan, as Islamabad reaches out to Beijing for a commercial loan to help it to repay another $1 billion to Riyadh next month, officials said on Wednesday.
With the $1 billion flowing out, Pakistan — which has $13.3 billion in central bank foreign reserves —could face a balance of payments issue after clearing the next Saudi installment.
"China has come to our rescue," a foreign ministry official said.
A finance ministry official said Pakistan's central bank was already in talks with Chinese commercial banks.
"We've sent $1 billion to Saudi Arabia," he said. Another $1 billion will be repaid to Riyadh next month, he said. Islamabad had returned $1 billion in July.
Although a $1.2 billion surplus in its current account balance and a record $11.77 billion in remittances in the past five months have helped support the Pakistani economy, having to return the Saudi money is still a setback.
Saudi Arabia gave Pakistan a $3 billion loan and a $3.2 billion oil credit facility in late 2018.
Prime Minister Imran Khan told a foreign TV that his government and the Pakistan army have the most harmonious relationship and noted that in the past, civilian and military leaderships had had a chequered relationship.
Prime Minister Imran Khan says the last two years of his life were the toughest, despite having struggled all his life, as Pakistan was facing challenges from all fronts.
“My entire life has been a struggle,” he told Dunya TV channel.
Remittances from overseas Pakistanis during December 2020 rose by 16.2 per cent year-on-year to $2.436 billion, compared to $2.097b in December 2019, clocking in above $2b mark for the seventh consecutive month, according to the latest data released by the State Bank of Pakistan.
The State Bank of Pakistan announced on Monday that the remittances remained above $2 billion for 8th straight month as during the corresponding month, the inflow was recorded at $2.3 billion as compared to the inflow of $1.907 billion in January 2020.
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Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Sunday visited Pakistani pavilion at World Expo 2020 to be held in Dubai from Oct. 1 this year.
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