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Five billion dollars from lenders expected in six months

Updated July 06, 2013
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) .— File Photo
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) .— File Photo

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan is expecting to receive about $5 billion from multilateral lenders in six months following a deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and from UAE’s Etisalat on account of privatisation proceeds of Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL).

A senior government official said that apart from more than $3 billion expected upfront from the IMF, two major multilateral agencies — the World Bank and Asian Development Bank — are expected to resume programme lending to Pakistan suspended for more than three years now and disburse about $400-500 million each by January 2014.

About the $800 million held up with UAE’s Etisalat for more than seven years now as proceeds of the PTCL privatisation held in 2005, the official said the ministry of finance had started engagement with the PTCL’s new management to realise the money on a war-footing.

On Friday, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and his aides held separate meetings with delegations of the World Bank led by Country Director Rachid Benmessaoud and a team of Etisalat headed by PTCL President Walid Irshad.

The minister called for resolving the dispute with Etisalat over the transfer of properties of PTCL and removing all hurdles within 10 days so that the longstanding issue could be closed soon.

Informed sources said that the minister had assured the Etisalat delegation which included the Chief Executive Officer for Asia, Mr Jamal Jarwan, and Etisalat Pakistan chairman Abdul Rahim Nooryani that the process of transfer of titles of about 120 properties in the name of PTCL would be completed this month while the matter concerning 10 disputed properties was in courts for adjudication and could be sorted out later.

He expected the Etisalat team to resolve the issue in the spirit of brotherly relations between the two countries. Among the prime subjudice properties is a 50-acre land at Gizri currently under the control of the Defence Housing Authority. It is said to be about a billion rupees.

Senator Dar told the delegation that the present financial situation in the country demanded an early settlement of the issue so that the receivable could ease Pakistan’s foreign exchange situation. He assured the delegation of a fair, transparent and equitable resolution based on established commercial rules.

The Etisalat delegation told the minister that they had been making serious efforts for seven years to get titles of the 131 properties transferred after which the outstanding payments due towards Pakistan could be made. The minister told the delegation that the government had recently concluded the agreement with the IMF, settled outstanding dues of Private Power Producers and he himself had made a commitment on the floor of the National Assembly to resolve the issue with Etisalat soon.

“We will resolve this issue with Etisalat and where there is a will there is a way. We need some out of the box thinking on fast-track basis,” he told the Etisalat team.

At a separate meeting with a two-member delegation of the World Bank, the finance minister discussed resumption of its lending programme and said he hoped that the relationship between the government and the World Bank would be mutually beneficial.

Mr Rachid Benmessaoud said that the international community was quite optimistic about positive developments in Pakistan and the World Bank was ready to help Pakistan in the energy sector and revenue mobilisation.