PTCL Privatization Dues – Ishaq Dar Raises Pending $800m Issue With UAE Govt
Seeks early release of much-delayed amount owned by Etisalat against privatisation of PTCL
Dubai-UAE (Daily The Nation Lahore / February 06, 2014) – Pakistan has once again raised the issue of pending $800 million against the privatisation of Pakistan Telecommunication Limited (PTCL) with top functionaries of United Arab of Emirates (UAE) government, as Islamabad badly needed amount to raise its reserves.
Sources informed that Finance Minister Senator Ishaq Dar, who is in Dubai currently, has asked the UAE government for early release of much-delayed $800 million owned by Etisalat against the privatisation of PTCL. Sources were of the view that both sides would reach on consensus in next few months. Meanwhile, an official handout also stated that Finance Minister Senator Ishaq Dar has asked the Dr. Anwar Mohammad Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs in UAE Parliament for disbursement of $800 million. Finance Minister Senator Ishaq Dar had asked the Etisalat delegation in December 2013 to immediately release $600 million to Pakistan, as more than 60 properties have either been transferred or in the final stages of transfer to PTCL. However, the delegation sought time to consider the Pakistan’s proposal. Therefore, government has once again raised the issue with UAE govt.
It is worth mentioning here that an Etisalat consortium bought a 26 percent stake in PTCL for $2.6 billion in 2005 that also gave Etisalat majority-voting rights. The UAE firm paid an initial $1.80 billion as per the deal terms, which also included transferring ownership of the properties to PTCL from the government. Etisalat was to pay the remaining $800 million it owed in six twice-yearly installments of $133 million, but has withheld payment as the transfer of some of these properties stalled. At the time of privatisation of PTCL, there were a total of 3,248 properties to be mutated in favour of PTCL. Of these, 3117 have been transferred till date leaving 131 outstanding properties, which include 32, public and 99 private.
Sources said that 60 properties have either been transferred or in the final stages of transfer to PTCL. Details of the remaining properties in the process of transfer include nine in Punjab, 45 in Sindh, four in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, five in Balochistan and eight in the Federal Government.