Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Etisalat Was Transparent in PTCL’s Privatization: Chairman Etisalat

In response to Senator Waqar’s statement on the floor of National Assembly, where he had said that privatization deal  of PTCL  with Etisalat  was not  transparent and  made in violation of  rules and  procedures, Chairman Etisalat Mr. Mohammad Omran has said that Etisalat’s investment in PTCL came in the wake of a welcome invitation and encouragement by the Government of Pakistan to participate in the privatization process, which the Corporation was pleased to accept.
Mr. Omran said that in addition to financial valuation and other formal commercial considerations, the governance and strict procurement rules of Etisalat (the Corporation being a listed entity in the UAE, 60% of which is owned by the Federal Government of UAE) required that before approving an acquisition of an asset, its Board of Directors obtained a legal opinion from International and country National external counsel which confirmed in no ambiguous terms that the requisite steps for the sale of that asset had been followed and that the acquisition is legally valid under the laws of the relevant country.
He stressed that as a UAE public corporation and one of the largest listed entities in the country in addition to its status as a leading regional Telecom operator, Etisalat applies the highest standards of transparency in conducting its business operations and International expansion strategy and a mission to add value wherever its reach took it.
Mr. Omran further pointed out that the commercial agreements with the Government of Pakistan call for the transfer of the properties in question to PTCL and not to Etisalat. Mr. Omran added that when the properties are transferred to PTCL, the Government of Pakistan, being the 62% shareholder of PTCL, will be the single largest beneficiary.
Referring to the withholding of installment payments, Chairman Etisalat added that under the agreed terms of the transaction, Etisalat is entitled to withhold payments until the property titles were transferred to PTCL.
“Our aim is to ensure that PTCL receives clean title to and possession of all properties,” said Mr. Omran.  He added, “We are confident that when the Privatization Commission fulfils this obligation, Etisalat will immediately release the installments.”
Our Take: If Senator Waqar blamed Etisalat for not maintaining transparency? or He was referring to those Government of Pakistan’s officials who made the decisions, without taking privatization commission in confidence.
Then Government had promised to transfer those properties which were not even owned by federal government or provincial governments, rather they were private – and these properties are making Etisalat hold its payable payment for more than a year now.

No foreign company is to be blamed for whatever has happened – but those who blindly gifted PTCL, one of largest national asset to Etisalat.
Who were those? Why they did so? If it can be reversed? These are the questions we need to resolve.

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