From Business Correspondent
ISLAMABAD: Finance Minister Asad Umar yesterday said China has agreed in principle to extend an economic relief package to Pakistan. He was speaking at a press conference alongside Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi to brief media about Prime Minister Imran Khan’s recently concluded China visit.
The finance minister said that the finance secretary and the Governor State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) will be meeting Chinese officials on Friday to discuss the modalities of the package. Asad Umar said the financial assistance provided by Saudi Arabia and the one to be given by China as well as the budgetary measures will help Pakistan address the balance of payment crisis, adding that Pakistan’s immediate balance of payment crises is over.
He, however, added that the government will have to focus on enhancing exports and support the industries and the agriculture sector in order to permanently address the balance of payment crisis. The minister also clarified that the target of doubling exports to China is for the current year and the exports will be further enhanced to the neighboring country.
On the occasion, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said the depth of Pak-China relations should not be seen only in the context of financial package. He said China has always helped Pakistan in difficult times and most recently it extended help in the month of July.
When asked about the visit of US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Alice Wells, the foreign minister said the two sides have discussed matters pertaining to promotion of trade and energy cooperation. He said all the indicators from the US side are opening up. He said the US side has also offered to play a positive role on Pak-Afghan water issues.