Etisalat, the UAE based telecom company, has once again denied Pakistani officials to pay the pending payment of USD 800 million or Rs. 68.8 billion for buying 26 percent shares of PTCL, reported Express Tribune.
Etisalat, according to paper, even rejected an offer from Pakistan government to pay USD 600 million, against a waiver of remaining USD 200 million. Instead Etisalat hinted at releasing money against getting more PTCL shares.
This major setback to the government’s comes at a time when yearly budget is just nearing and government is trying to bridge the gap between income and spendings.
For the purpose a secret mission, led by Interior Minister Rehman Malik, was sent to convince UAE rulers to use their influence on the company and get the withheld amount released.
The finance ministry has been striving to get the $800 million released before June in a bid to utilize the money for financing the budget deficit.
It merits mentioning here that Etisalat is holding payment due to non-transfer of lands by the Government of Pakistan. Then privatization ministry made a mistake by committing that the government would transfer over 3,200 properties of PTCL to Etisalat, which hasn’t happened so far.
Etisalat management has taken a stand that Pakistan has violated the sale agreement that clearly linked the deal with transfer of PTCL properties.
Sources said though the government has transferred most of the properties, it has been unable to give clean titles due to the litigation process.
Express Tribune writes that Pakistan also asked Etisalat to release money for the properties that have so far been transferred. The value of such properties has been estimated at $300 million, but the PTCL management did not agree to this.
Via Express Tribune