PTCL, Etisalat Real Estate Issue May Resolve Within This Month: “Business Recorder”

PTCL, Etisalat Real Estate Issue May Resolve Within This Month: “Business Recorder”

ISLAMABAD  (March 12, 2011) : Government of Pakistan (GoP) and M/s Etisalat, the buyers of 26 per shares in Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL), are expected to resolve the long standing real estate issue within this month after which $780 million will be released to Pakistan, well-informed sources told Business Recorder.

The sources said most of the properties in Punjab and Sindh have already been transferred to PTCL; however, about 100 properties’ are yet to be transferred out of 3000. These properties were basically given by the land owners voluntarily to the PTCL to install poles for telephone connections.

Minister of Information Technology (MoIT) had proposed that: (i) the GoP may take up the issue with Etisalat for seeking one-time consent for issuance of LDI licence in favour of China Mobile PAK; and (ii) if deemed necessary, fresh policy directive for placing a moratorium on issuance of fixed line (LL and LDI) and cellular licences for the remaining time of commitment with Etisalat may be issued.

“Pakistan has approached UAE at the highest level for resolution of issues which are hindering payment of $780 million,” the sources said adding that President Asif Ali Zardari was personally making efforts for early payment of $780 million due from M/s Etisalat.

However, another key issue is LDI/ 3G licence to China mobile ( known as Zong) as M/s Etisalat has threatened to approach international court if the GoP violates its agreement. In February 2011, federal cabinet directed an inter-ministerial committee, headed by Minister for Privatisation Waqar Ahmad Khan to take immediate steps to resolve the dispute with UAE-based Etisalat over the issue of LDI/3G spectrum licence to China Mobile Pakistan.

The sources said, Pakistan had made a commitment with M/s Estisalat that it will not issue any new LDI licence for seven years. This restriction will relax after a couple of years. In August, 2010 Ministry of Information Technology, in its summary to the Cabinet, had said that Etisalat International had agitated that (in the light of SPA schedule-6 clause-g), issuance of subject licence to China Mobile Pak would be violative of the SPA concluded between the GoP and the company on March 12, 2006. The issuance of licence was approved by the Cabinet on September 24, 2008, but the decision has not been implemented thus far due to Etisalat’s concerns.

The committee held only one meeting after which the issue had been handed over to the Minister for Interior Rehman Malik. Malik held a couple of meetings before he finalised recommendations for the President who is actively pursuing the case. The committee has also been given the task to resolve the LDI licence, auction 3G spectrum in consultation with the stakeholders and the concerned ministries.
Dilating upon the pending implementation decision on the reservations of Etisalat of UAE on the issuance of LDI/3G spectrum licence to China mobile, the Cabinet on January 26, 2011 directed the committee constituted for this purpose to come up with the report/update in the next Cabinet meeting, and take immediate steps for amicable resolution of the issue.

(Published in “Daily Business Recorder” on March 12, 2011)


Thanks To:

Muhammad Tauqeer
Cell # 0321-6123299

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