ISLAMABAD - Pakistan has yet to receive much-needed $800 million from Etisalat against the privatization of Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL) despite passing of more than five months (July-November) of the current financial year 2013-2014.

Sources said that government of Pakistan and management of Etisalat have reportedly failed to resolve the pending issue of releasing $800 million. The federal government is budgeting the pending $800 million in its budget from last several years, but amount could not be materialised due to the dispute on property.

“The government is making its efforts to materialize this amount during current fiscal year 2013-2014, as it has approved Rs 40 million for acquiring private properties to enable their mutation in favour of Etisalat”, said a finance ministry while talking to The Nation on Saturday. He further said that country’s foreign exchange reserves would enhance if it receives $800 million from Etisalat.

Finance Minister Senator Ishaq Dar on July 5 2013 had directed the Privatization Commission to resolve the disputes involved in the transfer of properties pertaining to PTCL and remove all hurdles within 10 days so that this longstanding issue can be brought to an early closure. Finance Minister Senator Ishaq Dar and State Minister for Information Technology Anusha Rehman have taken up the issue with the management of Etisalat in July this year. However, the matter could not be resolved yet.

Sources said that government is heavily relaying on the disbursement of $800 million and $1.2 billion from auctioning the 3G licenses during the ongoing fiscal year 2013-2014 to build its depleting foreign exchange reserves.

According to the reports, an Etisalat consortium bought a 26 per cent stake in PTCL for $2.6 billion in 2005 that also gave Etisalat majority voting rights. The UAE firm paid an initial $1.80 billion as per the deal terms, which also included transferring ownership of the properties to PTCL from the government. Etisalat was to pay the remaining $800 million it owed in six twice-yearly installments of $133 million, but has withheld payment as the transfer of some of these properties stalled.

The Etisalat/PTCL delegation has been making serious efforts to get the titles of the 131 properties transferred after which the outstanding payments due towards Pakistan could be paid. Unfortunately the issue of properties remains unresolved up-till now. It might be mentioned here that at the time of privatisation of PTCL, there were a total of 3,248 properties to be mutated in favour of PTCL. Of these, 3117 have been transferred till date leaving 131 outstanding properties, which include 32, public and 99 private.

Sources said the previous government of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) made several attempts to materialize the budgeted amount of $800 million on privatisation of PTCL; however Etisalat remained firm on its stance and linked the release of payment to the transfer of all the agreed properties.