Govt’s Official Stance on PTCL/Etisalat Payment Issue

Last week, on the floor of National Assembly, Minister for Privatization, Mr. Waqar Ahmed Khan was asked to present fact and figures on Etisalat’s pending payment, and the steps being taken by the Ministry to recover the said amount from the purchaser.

In response to which, Mr. Waqar Ahmed Khan told the house on September 23rd, 2010 that Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL) was privatized through sale of 26 percent shares for US$ 2,598,960,000 along with transfer of management control.

So far Privatization Commission has received US$ 1,799,653,313.31 and US$ 799,306,686.62 are outstanding as per detail below:

PTCL_Pending_Payment

Minister stated that the Privatization Commission (PC) has followed up the case of transfer of properties with earnestness and dynamism. Secretary PC held various meetings with the Provincial Chief Secretaries/Senior Members, Boards of Revenue for resolving the issue.

The Minister for Privatization also wrote D.O. letters to the Chief Ministers of Punjab and Sindh to help facilitate the transfers. Owing to the efforts, both Sindh and Punjab agreed to charge fees at amenity rates (50% of the commercial rate).

On 18th December, 2009 Mr. Mohammad Omran, Chairman and Managing Director, Etisalat and his team called on the Prime Minister. After discussion with Chairman Etisalat, PM had decided:

  • A Three Member Minister’s Committee consisting of Minister for Privatisation, Minister for Information & Broadcasting and Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources will immediately take necessary steps to resolve the issues regarding land.
  • This Committee will, if necessary, resolve the issue regarding valuation of the properties with the Provincial Chief Ministers and other Federal Government Agencies.

Subsequently, a meeting between the Privatization Commission and Etisalat was held in Dubai on 26th January, 2010 on the sidelines of FODP. The GoP reiterated its resolve for amicable resolution of issues.

Privatization Commission by using its best endeavors had arranged 64 properties in Punjab, 21 properties in Sindh to be mutated immediately in the name of PTCL upon settlement of modalities of payment to the provinces.

Regrettably Etisalat digressed from the understanding developed during the meeting.

Subsequently, a three Member Ministerial Committee constituted by the Prime Minister, consisting of Minister for Privatization, Minister for Information & Broadcasting and Minister for Petroleum & Natural Resources in its meeting held on 17th March, 2010, after deliberating on the various categories of land, directed that all relevant authorities of the Provinces and Federal Government should be engaged at the appropriate levels to get as many of the remaining properties as possible mutated in the name of PTCL at the earliest.

The Committee also directed that Etisalat be approached for delisting of 118 private properties from SPA and prepare plan of action for the remaining. The Committee further resolved to provide full support to the Privatization Commission in its efforts to settle the outstanding land issues. Therefore the matter was placed before the PC Board on 18th March, 2010 which endorsed the Committee’s recommendations.

Accordingly, the Privatization Commission wrote a letter on 30th March, 2010 to the President & CEO PTCL regarding using its best endeavors in facilitating PTCL and to work closely with PTCL for expeditious mutation of properties and also requested that PTCL / Etisalat may delete the 118 private properties from the list of outstanding properties to facilitate the resolution of the land issues and outstanding installments, however no favourable response was received.

PTCL responded on 1st April, 2010 that “PTCL does not have any authority or jurisdiction to amend / waive any of the obligations of the parties under the SPA. Therefore, the Commission may correspond directly with the Etisalat International in this regard.”

Government of Pakistan is using its best endeavors to get the outstanding properties mutated in the name of PTCL, in this regard 99 Punjab properties have been mutated as of 20th April, 2010 list of which was forwarded to Etisalat vide Privatisation Commission’s letter dated 23rd April, 2010 and was also requested to release the outstanding installments.

In response to PC’s letter, Etisalat on 26th April, 2010 appreciated the development and efforts made by GoP and reiterated their position in context of SPA.

Recently PC has again approached Etisalat for payment of outstanding instalments.