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Friday, April 12, 2024  
04 Shawwal 1445  

Pakistani delegation will leave for Russia for oil deal on Monday: Dar

Finance minister hopes visit will be successful
Finance Minister Ishaq Dar during an interview with Channel 24. Screngrab
Finance Minister Ishaq Dar during an interview with Channel 24. Screngrab

A delegation from Pakistan would leave for Russia on Monday to negotiate a potential oil deal with the fuel-rich country, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar said, following a meeting with the US State Department officials meeting in October.

“The government has authorised the Ministry of Petroleum, and on Monday, our team will leave for Russia for negotiations,” he said during an interview with 24 News on Friday night. “I had a meeting with the petroleum minister and he confirmed the development to me.”

The finance minister had joined the show to speak on the economic situation, PTI chief Imran Khan’s claims related to default, and new appointments in the army.

“We should pray that the visit is successful and the government manages to secure a deal on favourable terms and conditions for the people,” Dar said as the host asked him about his announcement that he would get cheap fuel from Russia amid rising oil prices in the international market.

Oil prices are a major factor in determining the rates of basic items.

Since the Ukraine war, the US and Europe have imposed sanctions on Russia. It has impacted the international oil market and made winter more difficult for the Europeans.

Pakistan had a meeting with the US State Department representatives in October in which both sides had a detailed discussion on Russian oil. According to Dar, Washington agreed with his suggestion for buying fuel from Kremlin as they had “no issue with it”. But, they had said that a G7 pricing committee would be formed that would determine the upper cap—a limit for buying fuel—which has been formed now.

Dar, who was sworn in as finance czar in September, said that Pakistan would hope to get the fuel free. However, he admitted that the neighbouring country, India, has an edge over Pakistan in an oil deal with Russia. “India enjoys historic ties with Russia, which gives them an edge over us.”

Pakistan imported petroleum products worth $7.547 billion during the first four months of the ongoing fiscal year, as per data provided by the State Bank of Pakistan.

‘Nowhere near default’

Dar reiterated that Pakistan was “nowhere near default”, and would pay all its payment obligations on time. The statement came after Imran warned that Pakistan would go default.

SBP Governor Jameel Ahmad also told a briefing on Friday that Pakistan would repay a $1 billion international bond on December 2, three days before its due date, Dawn reported.

“Pakistan would pay all its liabilities on time,” Dar said, reiterating that the country would not got to the Paris Club and pay bonds on time.

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