UAE to rollover $2b loan, will provide $1 more as Shehbaz visits Gulf State

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has agreed to rollover the current $2 billion loan and provide another $1 billion, said Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb on Thursday afternoon.

Marriyum revealed this in a series of tweets as Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif held a meeting with UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan in Abu Dhabi.

According to a statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Office, “The two leaders discussed the fraternal relations existing between Pakistan and the UAE; and explored ways and means to further strengthen these ties, especially in the fields of trade, investment and energy.”

They also had an exchange of views on regional and international issues of mutual interest,” the statement said and added that the two sides agreed to deepen investment cooperation, stimulate partnerships and enable investment integration opportunities.

On the occasion, Shehbaz invited Sheikh Mohamed for a visit to Pakistan which he accepted. The final dates for the purpose would be decided through diplomatic channels.

Earlier in the day, Shehbaz left for the UAE on a two-day official visit Thursday for holding talks with the Gulf State leaders.

The prime minister – accompanied by a high-level delegation – is visiting the UAE on the invitation of Sheikh Mohamed for the third time after assuming the office.

During the visit, the prime minister will meet the UAE leaders with a particular focus on advancing economic, trade and investment ties between the two brotherly countries and creating increased opportunities for the Pakistani workforce in the UAE. The two leaders will also exchange views on a range of regional and global issues of mutual interest.

The prime minister will also hold consultations with UAE Prime Minister Sheikh Muhammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum besides hold meetings with the Emirati businessmen and investors to discuss ways to enhance bilateral trade and investment.

The UAE is home to around 1.7 million Pakistanis who have been playing a pivotal role in the success story of the UAE, contributing to the progress, prosperity and economic development of the two brotherly countries.

“Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates enjoy close and fraternal ties based on common faith and traditions, shared history and heritage; deep-rooted cultural affinities, geographic proximity and identity of views on several regional and global issues. Regular high-level exchanges and visits are a key feature of this relationship,” a foreign Office press release said.

Seeking assistance and investment

Earlier, it was expected that the request to rollover the maturing $2 billion debt would be on top of the prime minister’s wish list as there are also reports about a suggestion to give Emirati investors over 10 percent stakes in the state-run companies listed at the Pakistan Stock Exchange and involved in the oil and gas sector.

It is this speculation that has helped in increasing the share prices of these entities in recent days with investors opting to buy their shares with a hope of good returns.

Pakistan and the UAE have also been discussing a proposal to allow the commercialisation of PTCL properties to settle some of the $800 million outstanding amount.

It’s a developing story. Details to follow


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