The government would have to allay the concerns of Etisalat on grey trafficking as well as settle the issue of mutation of properties for it to release the remaining $800 million on account of privatisation of Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL). Sources said the issue of grey trafficking was raised by the management of Etisalat during their meeting with Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and State Minister for Information Technology Anusha Rehman.
The Finance Minister reportedly assured Etisalat management that their concerns of grey trafficking would be addressed and directed Privatisation Commission to resolve the disputes about the transfer of properties within ten days.
The Minister reportedly issued directives to the Privatisation Commission subsequent to a meeting with Etisalat delegation comprising Walid Irshad, President/CEO-PTCL, Jamal Jarwan, CEO-Asia-Etisalat and Abdul Rahim Nooryani, chairman Etisalat Pakistan who called on him last week. The Minister raised the issue of receivables of $800 million from Etisalat and stated that the present government wanted all issues hindering release of $800 million to be resolved.
The delegation of Etisalat was quoted as saying that in the last seven years they have been making serious efforts to get the titles of around 131 properties transferred so that the outstanding payments of $800 million could be paid. Unfortunately, the issue of properties remains unresolved till now, the delegation added.
Senator Ishaq Dar impressed upon the delegation that issues pertaining to properties would be resolved and he will take personal interest in the matter. Sources said that the issue of grey trafficking was also a serious Etisalat concern and the company urged the government to take action to resolve all their concerns ahead of payment of $800 million.
The outstanding payment from Etisalat has been included in the budgeted non-tax revenue for the last four years and has contributed to a higher than budgeted deficit.
The disbursement of $800 million from Etisalat and sale of 3G licences are considered very critical by the present government to ease the pressure on external account.