Etisalat to Deduct $73 Million for Properties to Settle $800 Million Dispute with GoP

etisalat-db-telecomEtisalat and Government of Pakistan are soon to resolve the long pending payment dispute of $800 million, reported Khaleej Times, citing Dr. Mirza Ikhtiar Baig, advisor to Pakistan’s prime minister on textile and chairman of Pak-UAE Business Council.

Paper said that the resolution involves a mechanism agreed by both the parties, under which Etisalat will deduct the market price of those properties that Pakistan has failed to transfer.

“We proposed an out of the box solution to this longstanding dispute and hopefully the issue will be settled soon,” stated Dr. Mirza in an interview with paper.

Elaborating, Dr. Baig said the government of Pakistan was unable to transfer about 136 properties to PTCL due to encroachments and legal cases. “Now, we have evaluated the market price of the disputed properties and this amount will be deducted from the pending final payment of the $2.6 billion deal signed in 2006,” he said.

“There is still a difference of opinion on evaluated market price of the disputed properties. The UAE side will soon submit its report and the issue will be resolved within weeks,” he added.

This news surfaced only days after State Bank of Pakistan warned of financial instability if Government of Pakistan fails to raise funds. Pakistan is eyeing $800 million from Etisalat and another $ 1 billion from 3G auction to save its credit situation.

It is not the first time that Pakistani officials have hinted a resolution of pending payment dispute. For example, Mr. Waqar Ahmed Khan, Pakistan’s minister of privatization was once quoted as saying that Etisalat will pay the pending payment of $800 by March 2010. Which obviously didn’t happen.

It maybe recalled that PTA is working on a policy under which Etisalat or any of its subsidiary will be held disqualified to bid for 3G auction in case of non-payment.