Etisalat Telecom (UAE) Refused to Pay PTCL Privatization Full Dues to Govt of Pakistan
Price differences on disputed 34 properties
(Published in Daily The Nation on Friday, January 23, 2015)
ISLAMABAD (Wednesday, Jan 28, 2015/Daily Nation/Imran Ali Kundi) – Pakistan will not receive entire due amount worth of $800 million from Etisalat against the privatisation of Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited due to the price differences on disputed 34 properties of the PTCL.
Minister of State and Chairman Privatisation Commission Mohammad Zubair said this while briefing the sub-committee of the Senate Standing Committee on Finance and Revenue.
He informed that government could not transfer 34 PTCL’s properties to Etisalat due to the several reasons.
The government had transferred 3466 properties to the Etisalat so far out of total 3500 PTCL properties.
He told that there are huge differences between the prices of disputed 34 properties, as estimated by Pakistan and Etisalat.
As per government evaluation, the cost of these properties was $92 million whereas Etislaat has come up with assessment of $400 million.
Therefore, the issue is not resolved yet.
He further stated that Privatisation Commission has written a letter to Etislaat for settlement of dispute lingering from last eight years.
The meeting of sub-committee was held under the chairmanship of Senator Talha Mahmood to take up Privatisation Commission Amendment Bill 2013 moved by Senator Sughra Imam.
On the question of Senator Syeda Sughra Imam of Pakistan Peoples Party, Chairman Privatisation Commission said that Indian and Israeli could not make investment in Pakistan.
However, he informed that investment made through equity fund could not be detected.
The committee members asked the government for security clearance of foreign investment companies before investing in Pakistan.
However, Minister of State did not agree with the committee’s proposal by saying this could affect the foreign investment in the country.
He informed that a security agency had refused to give visa to the Singapore Company, which later rejected to invest in Pakistan.
Minister of State informed that Wah Cant Tool Factory is continuously facing financial loss.
However, the Ministry of Defence is opposing for its privatisation.
Zubair said that anyone that purchase more than 5 per cent shares get approval from State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) and Securities Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP)
The sub-committee recommended post audit of privatisation transactions to ensure transparency.
The committee member also expressed their concern over use of privatisation proceeds for meeting budgetary expenditure instead of debt retirement.
According to the bill to amend Privatisation Commission Ordinance, 2000 seeks that privatisation process in Pakistan must be entirely transparent and conducted in a manner that will protect Pakistan’s economic and strategic interests, both in the short and the long-term.
The privatisation process must, therefore, be improved to guarantee greater efficiency, openness and transparency in every transaction.
Pakistan’s strategic assets and national security interests must also be safeguarded and secured during this process.
The Senator wants amendment in section 5 of the ordinance to ensure that all privatised assets, shares and enterprises are not further sold to another bidder without prior approval of the Federal government and its concerned agencies.
Other amendment proposed in the law to ensure that the natural resources can only be privatised through granting operational rights for a certain period of time and not through granting ownership rights and that the proceeds of privatisation will only be used for debt retirement and not for general budget expenditure or investment.