Govt likely to get $800m PTCL arrears from Etisalat -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Govt likely to get $800m PTCL arrears from Etisalat

ISLAMABAD: The contentious issue of transfer of properties to the Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL) has been amicably resolved and the government is hopeful to receive the remaining amount of $800 million within this fiscal year from UAE based Etisalat, official sources informed here on Wednesday.

An official source at the Ministry of Finance informed that the remaining issues between the United Arab Emirates (UAE) based Etisalat, which clinched PTCL by giving a winning bid of $2.6 billion for a 26 percent stake along with management control in 2005 was finally settled. Sindh government, he said, had transferred the remaining properties in the name of PTCL.

He said faced with a serve financial crunch, the government decided to expedite resolution of the lingering issues that would help reduce dependence on foreign inflows and provide necessary fiscal support to reign in the fiscal deficit.

The issue of properties transfer issue was on the hold for the last five years, as the provinces were demanding high prices for the transfer of properties. Under the sale purchase agreement (SPA) signed with Etisalat, Pakistan was bound to transfer properties in PTCL’s name to secure release of $800 million.

Punjab and Sindh were the two provinces, which were required to transfer majority of the properties. Punjab had already transferred the land titles while the Sindh government had reservations over the offered price, which was finally settled after the intervention of the federal government, he said.

The sources said that the government would not loose from the transfer of properties to PTCL, as being 62 percent shareholder in the privatised entity it would be still be the single largest beneficiary.

About the 3G-telecom licenses, he said, that a presentation would be soon given to the Prime Minister and the matter would be decided in the next fortnight. The government estimates that the auction of three new licenses for the third generation (3G) telephony would help generate close to $1 billion during the current fiscal year. “We are consulting the experts to get their opinion whether the local environment was conducive for getting suitable bids.”
Source: Daily Times
Date:3/3/2011