Etisalat given a month to pay $800mln outstanding dues
(The News news report dated January 26, 2017)
ISLAMABAD: Senate Standing Committee on Information and Technology and Telecommunication on Wednesday expressed reservation over the outstanding amount of $800 million from Etisalat, pursuant to share purchase agreement made at the time of PTCL’s (Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited) privatisation.
The committee met under the chairmanship of Senator Shahi Syed and was attended by Senator Mufti Abdul Sattar, Najma Hameed, Syed Shibli Faraz, Saeed Ghani, Rubina Khalid, and Dr Ghous Muhammad Khan Niazi.
Privatisation Commission chairman Muhammad Zubair briefed the committee about the recovery of the outstanding $800 million from Etisalat. He said the management of PTCL has changed, and the new management has asked for some time.
“We have decided to give the time of one month so they can get settle and address the issue amicably, as market value of PTCL shares has gone down.” He told the committee that Etisalat has so far paid three instalments totalling $400 million and the outstanding balance was $800 million.
Etisalat International Pakistan (EIP) has been requested at various occasions to pay the remaining $800 million after adjusting the proportionate amount equivalent to its holding of 26 percent of the value of 33 properties.
The committee was informed that the Finance Ministry was fully onboard, and had conducted many meetings regarding the issue. The chairman of the committee expressed reservations over the terms and conditions of the agreement, and called the PTCL president in the next meeting.
The committee also directed to resolve the service regularisation issue of contractual employees, who were serving in the TIP schools and colleges, as well as the payment of outstanding salaries of TIP employees.
Joint secretary ministry of IT
Rizwan Bashir briefed the committee that TIP and MoIT were making efforts to convince NRTC and PTCL to take over the schools and hospital on their respective land along with the staff so their jobs remained intact.
Joint secretary Khalid Gardezi said TIP paid off terminal dues of 24 regular employees, who had already joined NRTC and PTCL, and were performing their duties from July 1, 2016. He said that TIP was no more responsible for these employees as TIP was closed.
“We have prepared the working formula after the court hearing on February 13. We will give the directions to resolve the issue regarding the school and teachers,” he added. Pakistan Telecommunication Employees Trust (PTET) official told the committee that the objective of the trust was to manage the pension fund and disburse pensions to PTCL pensioners. Yearly pension increases were granted after approval of the board of trustees.
He told the committee that yearly pension payment was Rs7.1billion and till 2016, the number of pensioners was 39,861.