Negotiations for PTCL’s Privatization Will Resume Next Week

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The Secretary Privatization Commission-led committee will resume negotiation with UAE-based Etisalat next week to settle the long-pending dispute about the privatization of Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL).

Official sources revealed that the government has constituted a committee led by Secretary Privatization Commission Rizwan Malik with representation from other relevant ministries including Finance and Information Technology and Telecommunication.

The committee is scheduled to resume negotiations with Etisalat on Monday or Tuesday. Both sides have agreed to hold talks through a video link and a series of meetings is expected to finalize recommendations. The committee will present the recommendations before the government for a final nod to resolve the matter.

Secretary Privatization and Secretary Information Technology and Telecommunication confirmed the development. When asked about the earlier offer of around $270 million by Etisalat for the remaining around 33 properties not transferred, they said all aspects of the matter will be discussed and Pakistan will also table its viewpoint.

The incumbent government constituted an inter-ministerial committee to deliberate and resolve the issues of renewal of cellular licenses and the PTCL privatization issue, besides devising a resolution mechanism for all outstanding matters including payment of outstanding $800 million.

Several ministers of the incumbent government stated that the government was expecting a major breakthrough with Etisalat to resolve the long-pending dispute. The engagements with Etisalat were very positive and are likely to reach a conclusion very soon, they added.

A high ranking official at the Privatization Commission maintained that the process is complicated and may take some time.