By Arif Qureshi
Islamabad: Saudi Ambassador to Pakistan Abdullah Marzouk Al-Zahrani said Kingdom is working on a plan to move its economy beyond oil and it is great opportunity for Pakistani investors to benefit form the new policy of Saudi Arabia. Saudi Envoy said that we wanted to We want to enhance cooperation with Pakistan in various fields including trade, commerce and culture. Abdullah Marzouk expressed these views while meeting with FPCCI President Abdul Rauf Alam in Islamabad on Tuesday. On the occasion a large number of business communities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad were also present.
Abdullah Marzouk Al-Zahrani on the occasion announced that Saudi Arabia will grant two-year multiple visas to the Pakistani businessmen recommended by the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI). He emphasized that Saudi Arabia was injecting a new dynamism into its economy through a productivity and investment-led transformation that would help ensure future growth, employment and prosperity. He highlighted the sectors in which Pakistanis could invest. These included agriculture, honey and beverages, processed food, oil, gas, petrochemicals, power production including solar and other renewable energy, water and wastewater, financial and professional services.
Other potential areas were education, training and human capital development, mass transport infrastructure such as rail, metro and bus links, environment technology and services, ICT, consumer and luxury goods, security services, healthcare and life sciences, and mining. He assured Pakistani investors that they would be given all the facilities in the kingdom for establishing their businesses.
Earlier, the FPCCI president outlined the problems faced by the Pakistani business community while visiting Saudi Arabia. Recalling the achievements made by Saudi Arabia in the economic field, Alam said from 2003-13, Riyadh saw rising prosperity, 75% rise in household income, creation of 1.7 million jobs, 100% rise in the size of national economy and hefty reserves almost equal to the gross domestic product, but now it could no longer rely on oil revenues.
Although parts of the Middle East had seen political turmoil for the past few years, Saudi Arabia had remained stable and investors still viewed it as an attractive destination for doing business, he remarked. He called the Saudi riyal one of the most stable currencies, saying no significant changes in its exchange value had taken place over the past three decades, therefore, businessmen could invest there without any fear.