ISLAMABAD - Pakistan and Etisalat would hold conclusive meeting during this week to resolve the pending $800 million amount, which have been held up by the company for a long time due to non-transfer of some properties of Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL).
An Etisalat team would visit Pakistan during this week. “I will hold a conclusive meeting with Etisalat on Dec 18 following his discussions with UAE’s Foreign Minister Shaikh Abdullah Bin Zayed for payment of $800 million on account of PTCL’s sale and held up for seven years now”, said Finance Minister Senator Ishaq Dar other day.
The government is optimistic to resolve the pending matter in the coming meeting to be held with Etisalat management this week. The government is expecting to generate $2 billion from two sources, $1.2 billion from the auction for spectrum telecom and $800 million from Etisalat, which would help in building the depleting foreign exchange reserves of the country.
The federal government is budgeting the pending $800 million in its budget from last several years, but amount could not materialise due to the dispute on property.
According to the reports, an Etisalat consortium bought a 26 per cent 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.
The Etisalat/ PTCL has been making serious efforts to get the titles of the 131 properties transferred after which the outstanding payments due towards Pakistan could be paid. Unfortunately the issue of properties remains unresolved up-till now. It might be mentioned here that 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 the previous government of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) made several attempts to materialise the budgeted amount of $800 million on privatisation of PTCL; however Etisalat remained firm on its stance and linked the release of payment to the transfer of all the agreed properties.