ISLAMABAD  - Finance Minister Senator Ishaq Dar on Friday said that government is expecting to earn $2 billion through auction of next generation spectrum licence by March 2014.

While talking to a Telenor delegation led by Jon Fredrik Baksaas, President/CEO of the Telenor Group, the Finance Minister said that their visit was timely as the government is planning to auction the next generation spectrum licence by March 2014. The Finance Minister who also chairs the Spectrum Auction License Committee said that there is a lot of interest being shown by Telecom sector in the auction of next generation spectrum licence and assured that the process of auction would be smooth and transparent. Ishaq Dar said that though Pakistan expects to earn an estimated $2 billion through the auction of three spectrum licences, we have taken a conservative figure of $1.2 billion for budgetary purposes.

President/CEO of the Telenor Group and Current Chairman of GSMA Jon Fredick Baksaas said that Telenor views Pakistan as a developing economy with a great potential. Expressing his interest in participating in the next generation spectrum licence, Jon Fredrick Baksaas apprised the Finance Minister that the Group which has been working in Pakistan for nearly a decade has invested $2.3 billion and contributed another half in shape of various taxes, besides providing employment to 3800 persons directly and over 25,000 persons indirectly.

The Finance Minister said that the incumbent government is presently working to fix the macro-economic imbalances and sees a lot of economic activity in the country in the next three years. He further said that the present government led by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is known for its business friendly policies and believes that the corporate sector should be further facilitated. The Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, the Finance Minister said had a vision and a clear roadmap to revive economy and put it on the path of sustainable growth.

The President/CEO Telenor said that telenor sector plays a vital role in stimulating growth in the economy and the steps being taken to auction the next generation spectrum licence would help Pakistan accelerate growth. Briefing the Finance Minister on the future plans of the Group, the President Telenor said that the Group takes a long-term view of Pakistan and added that the penetration rate of telecom in Pakistan is higher than India and the auction of next generation spectrum licence would only improve it further.

The delegation consists of Jon Fredrik Baksaas, President/CEO of the Telenor Group and current Chairman of GSMA, Lars Christian Iuel President/CEO Telenor Pakistan, Tore Johnsen SVP Telenor Asia Region, Haakon Bruaset Kjol Corporate Affairs-Asia Region-Telenor, M. Aslam Hayat Chief Corporate Affairs and Security Officer, Corporate & Regulatory Affairs, Telenor Pakistan.

The meeting was also attended by Secretary Information Technology Ikhlaq Tarrar, Chairman Pakistan Telecom Authority Ismail Shah, Advisor on Finance Rana Asad Amin and senior officials of the government.