Govt hoping for $800m from Etisalat


ISLAMABAD – The lingering 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 from Etisalat within the next few weeks.
An official source at the Ministry of Finance said the Sindh government had finally transferred the remaining properties in PTCL’s name while Punjab had already transferred the properties in the name of the company. “The government will not lose from the transfer of properties to PTCL, as holding 62 percent of the shares in the privatised entity it will still be the single largest beneficiary,” he said.
The official said under the agreed terms of the transaction, Etisalat was entitled to withhold payments until property titles were transferred to PTCL. The investors were demanding clean titles and possession of all properties, he said, adding that they had assured that when the Privatisation Commission fulfilled its obligation, Etisalat would immediately release the remaining installments.
He said PTCL transferred ownership of more than 3,000 properties that it could not sell or use for any purpose other than the telecom services. “These real estate assets are in the shape of land as well as buildings, given to PTCL by the state and about 200 of such properties were gifted by common people. As many as 157 assets are from the pre-independence days,” he said.
The issue of properties transfer issue was on hold for the last five years, as the provinces were demanding high prices for the transfer of properties. Punjab had already transferred the land titles while the Sindh government had reservations over the offered price, which was settled after the intervention of the federal government, he added.
About the 3G telecom licences, he said a presentation would be given to the prime minister and the matter would be decided in the next two weeks.