Pakistan to resolve 14-year-old pending issue with UAE-based firm, recover $800m against privatization of PTCL
The company paid a hefty $1.4b upfront payment against privatization.
Pakistan has decided to relaunch efforts to resolve a 14-year-old pending issue with UAE-based telecom firm Etisalat and recover the due amount of $800 million against the privatization of Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL).
Pakistan has to recover $800 million from UAE-based, pending since 2005. The past three successive governments have failed to resolve it. Back in July 2005, Etisalat had bought 26% shares in PTCL. The price of shares is $2.6 billion.
After the UAE-based firm came to know that the second-lowest bid was actually $1.4 billion, it backtracked from the offer. Back in March 2006, the then government signed an agreement with Etisalat, according to which 3,384 properties of the PTCL were to be handed over to the company.
Etisalat made a $1.4 billion upfront payment, and then stopped the later installments, which amounted to $800m.
In the latest development on the issue, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh has said that the government wants resolution for the issue at priority basis. He asked the involved stakeholders to finalize a proposal within the next two weeks.
Shaikh said this while chairing an Inter-Ministerial Committee, constituted by the Prime Minister to resolve the PTCL privatization issue. Minister for Privatisation Muhammad Mian Soomro, Minister for Information Technology Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, Secretary Finance, Secretary Privatisation, Secretary Information Technology & Telecommunication, and other senior officials also attended the meeting.
Pakistan, so far, has transferred 3,248 properties in favor of Etisalat. Remaining 34 properties could not be transferred. Pakistan has told the company that it cannot ”transfer the remaining 34 properties and that it would have to pay the outstanding dues by adjusting the value of these properties”. It must be kept under consideration that Etisalat has not accepted Pakistan’s offers in the past.
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