ISLAMABAD  -   Pakistan is set to receive $279 million under oil financing facility from the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) in next few days that would further reduce pressure on import bill of the country and shore up foreign reserves.

The IDB had activated its three-year $4.5 billion oil financing facility for Pakistan in July last year. The International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC), a member of the IDB Group, would roll over the $4.5 billion loan to Pakistan in next three year – $1.5 billion in each fiscal year.

Dr Khaqan Hassan Najeeb, official spokesman and adviser of finance ministry informed The Nation that Pakistan had already utilised $100 million received from the ITFC and another $279 million is in the pipeline which would be received in next few days.

He further informed that upcoming inflow would ease the pressure on the current account deficit of the country. He clarified that IDB’s oil facility is separate from the own announced by the Saudi Arabia recently.

Talks are underway with Saudi Arabia for provision of a one-year deferred payment facility for the import of oil worth up to $3 billion, Dr Najeeb said. It is part of a $6 billion assistance package Saudi Arabia had announced for Pakistan in October 2018.

The other $3 billion comprised cash deposits in the account of State Bank of Pakistan which has already been received in three instalments of $1 billion each over last three months. The loan given at 3.18 percent return has helped build country’s dwindling foreign exchange reserves.

Pakistan would start receiving oil on defer payment from Saudi Arabia from next month (February), which would further reduce the pressure on imports bill and foreign exchange reserves.

The UAE had also announced to despite $3 billion in SBP’s account in three instalments. Pakistan has already received one instalment of $1 billion and the other two tranches are expected in next two months (February and March).

With receiving one billion dollars each from Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates in last few days, the foreign exchange reserves held by central bank now stand at $8.64 billion.