Islamabad: In order to increase the credit limit on oil imports so as to ease the pressure on declining foreign currency reserves, Pakistan is seeking help of four Gulf Arab countries.
The Muslim countries that will be contacted are Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Qatar and Kuwait, according to sources.
The former government PPP in the past tried to convince Saudi Arabia to increase the oil import credit ceiling, but Riyadh showed no response to Islamabad.
The government is also planning to make a deal with the Gulf countries to reduce the cost of crude oil imports. Oil and its products’ import eats up roughly $15 billion a year.
At present, Pakistan imports petroleum products from Saudi Arabia on 30-day credit and from the UAE it buys oil on 60-day deferred payment.
The total consumption of petroleum products in Pakistan stands at 22 million tons, of which about 13 million tons are imported. Apart from this, oil refineries import nine million tons of crude oil per annum to meet their processing needs.
According to Government officials, the import bill can increase to higher levels after the closure of compressed natural gas (CNG) stations in Punjab and lack of gas supply for running power plants.
Industry players say private companies in the oil sector have already made commercial arrangements with different oil suppliers.
According to a statement issued here, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar held a meeting with representatives of Pakistan State Oil, Pakistan Refinery Limited and Pak Arab Refinery (Parco) at the finance ministry on Friday.
He discussed and reviewed their performance with specific reference to the source of oil imports as well as their consumption.
The minister expressed satisfaction over the current availability of petroleum products in the country.