Govt aims to clear PTCL’s $800mn dues from UAE’s Etisalat

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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan has urged Adviser Finance and Revenue Dr. Abdul Hafeez Sheikh to approach the government of United Arab Emirates (UAE) regarding the remaining payment of $800 million from Etisalat.
Sources have also stated that in a meeting of the economic team, various economy-related issues were being discussed.
The directions were given to Sheikh as he held the position of privatization minister during the time when around 26% of PTCL’s shares along with management control were brought by M/s Etisalat.
Former Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz held a privatization program in 2006 where government-backed PTCL shares declined to 62% after 26% shares were sold to Etisalat Telecommunications. The general public brought the remaining 12% of the shares in the same time period.
Later, Asad Umer decided to sell all the shares of PTCL in the Cabinet Committee on Privatisation (CCop) meeting. The decision, in this regard, has never implemented.
According to sources, because of the non-transference PTCL properties in Sindh and Punjab, Etisalat has retained $799.3 million. After selling 26% shares for $2.6 billion, PTCL was privatized. This payment was to be paid in nine equal installments on a biannual basis.
Three further payments of $133 million were to be paid by the buyer after the transfer of the decided number of properties. In the case of non-fulfillment, the Government of Pakistan is allowed to compile a list of non-transferred properties.
This step will enable the government and the buyer can appoint valuators separately to figure out the value of certain property. After this valuation, the buyer will leave with an option to either surrender from the right to use these non-transferred properties or deduction of estimated value from the payment.
To run this process smoothly and on time, GoP established a committee under the supervision of Secretary, Ministry of Information Technology, who happens to be the chairman of the PTCL Board of Directors.
However, there are installments yet to be paid. Etisalat had paid around $ 1.799 billion and $799.3 million balance still remains. Previous administrations have already raised the issue with the highest level rulers of UAE but no practical steps have been taken to resolve the issue.
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