ISLAMABAD - Pakistan would transfer 101 properties out of 131 in favour of Etisalat by the end of current month (March), a move that might pave the way in materialising substantial amount out of outstanding $800 million.
“Pakistan is expecting to receive some $600 million out of due amount of $800 million by transferring 101 properties by the end of March”, said on official while talking to The Nation. He was of the view that the government would transfer remaining properties in future, as some of the properties are under litigation that might take some time. The latest development of transferring properties was discussed in a special meeting to review the status of transfer of properties in the name of PTCL at the Finance Ministry Wednesday. Finance Minister Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar chaired the meeting.
Chairman Privatization Commission, Mohammad Zubair said that out of 131 outstanding properties , 101 properties will be transferred in favour of PTCL till March 31, 2014. Whereas, the transfer of the remaining properties is also in progress. He informed that the Commission is in contact with the provincial governments for early transfer of properties . The finance minister, after detailed briefing, directed Privatization Commission to accelerate the process in order to deliver on the commitments of the Government of Pakistan for expeditious transfer of properties to PTCL. He emphasized that this will secure the release of outstanding payment from the management of PTCL.
It is worth mentioning here that an Etisalat consortium bought 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. 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. Minister for Science & Technology, Zahid Hamid, Minister of State for IT Anusha Rehman, Finance Secretary Dr Waqar Masood, Secretary IT, Akhlaq Ahmad Tarar, Secretary Privatization Amjad Ali Khan, Advisor to Finance Ministry, Rana Assad Amin and SA to FM, Shahid Mahmood also attended the meeting.