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SOURCE: TRIBUNE PK

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar indicated on Sunday Pakistan overcame the United States’ opposition to the purchase of Russian oil and stressed that Islamabad intended to enter into the fuel import deal with Moscow on terms similar to those agreed by New Delhi.

According to a message received here, the country’s financial czar, while addressing the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) workers in Dubai, said that the US had been told that Pakistan could purchase Russian oil because its neighbour India was doing the same.

“We told the American [State Department] officials that America cannot stop us from buying oil from Russia because our neighbouring country India is also buying oil from Russia,” The finance minister told the gathering, while referring to his visit to the US last month.

The minister added that it was decided in the meeting that Pakistan could buy oil from Russia. “The US officials said they are forming a G-7 platform that will determine the price of buying oil from Russia and that no one should buy oil from Russia at a higher price.”

Dar also said that the ministry would try to purchase oil from Russia on terms similar to those agreed by India. “In the next few months, you will see that the government will take important steps in favour of Pakistan in this regard,” added the finance minister.

Dar said that that Pakistan had financial dealings with Saudi Arabia, China, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). He added that he had held important meetings with the UAE authorities, while the prime minister also held meetings with the Saudi authorities during his recent visit. “From these meetings, you will see that there will be further improvement for Pakistan.”

The minister told the PML-N workers that Saudi Arabia would set up a refinery in Gwadar with an investment of around $11 or 12 billion. He added that the project was initiated in October 2015 but was delayed because of political crisis and change of government in Pakistan. “Now it has been decided to establish the refinery,” he said.

The minister criticised the previous Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government for “sinking Pakistan’s economy” during its nearly four-year tenure. The economy, he continued, faced a negative impact when the dollar spiralled due to the government’s decision to move to a market-based exchange rate.

However, he assured that the government would maintain between prices of the dollar and the rupee. “We will try to depreciate dollar below Rs200. Our government is determined to improve rupee’s value against the dollar,” he said, adding that the government was implementing reforms to bring the economy back on its feet.

“We will complete the IMF [International Monetary Fund] programme. Around $32 to 34 billion are required for the current financial year. We hope to collect the amount,” Dar said speaking about the funds to be received from the global financial institution.