PTCL privitisation arrears

The dispute over the PTCL sales proceeds worth $800 million with UAE Telecom joint was kept in the cold storage by the previous two governments for the sake of vested interest. The present government took keen interest to amicably resolve the dispute for retrieving the outstanding amount. Advisor on finance Dr. Abdual Hafeez Sheikh, while presiding over inter-ministerial meeting on November, 22 last year had directed the officials of ministries of privitisation and information technology to evaluate the expected offer from Etesalat for the settlement of dispute pertaining to the arrears of PTCL shares sales proceeds.

The UAE based Telecom giant has now offered to pay $267 million to settle the 13 years old financial dispute. The contention of Etesalat is that that as per the agreement made by the former Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz government, PTCL assets of $533 million have not been transferred to the company. However, offering one-third of the actual outstanding amount of PTCL sale proceeds seems to be bargaining chip for further negotiations to resolve the issue without further delay. If out of compulsion the government accepts the offer then the value of privitisation transaction will come down from $2.07 billion to $2.6 billion. It merits mention that management of PTCL had been transferred to Etesalt in 2006 by acquiring 26 percent stakes under a shady deal whereas management of a public sector entity is transferred to the buyer company on the purchase of 51 percent shares on competitive price. Hopefully, the matter will be negotiated for retrieving the actual amount of sales proceeds.