Mar 05 -
Govt. may invite EoI for PTCL sell off in March
The government has finalized all arrangements to privatize
the Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL), said a spokesman of the
He said on Tuesday as various concerns have been addressed,
the company is ready for privatization particularly, to benefit the consumers
and the taxpayers and the government is likely to invite Expressions of Interest
(EOI) in late March.
The process has taken several years to address strategic and
consumer concerns and ensures a competitive and level-playing field for the
"Through privatization, the government expects to
achieve expansion of the telecommunications infrastructure, an enhancement in
the variety and quality of services and fiscal revenues that would be used to
retire high interest debt", he added. These would be particularly
beneficial to the average consumer and taxpayer, the spokesman pointed out.
He further stated that the current effort to privatize PTCL
began in 1998 with the appointment of a top quality Financial Advisor (FA),
which is consortium of firms led by Goldman Sachs International. The FA has
advised on a privatization strategy and restructuring of PTCL, completed a legal
technical and financial due diligence, and is conducting a valuation of the
He said the FA is now conducting a soft marketing of the
company to leading telecommunications companies and potential investors
worldwide. To enhance its capacity for marketing, Goldman Sachs plans to add
another investment bank to its consortium, which is in accordance with the
Financial Advisory agreement. The FA will be submitting its soft marketing
report in early March, the PC spokesman explained.
He added that the government would invite EOI in late March.
As required by the Privatization Ordinance advertisement for this purpose will
be placed in both national and international newspapers.
Can Pakistan qualify for debt write-off?
Can Pakistan qualify for a debt write-off under the Enhanced
HIPC Initiative that has recently changed the eligibility criteria for debt
To be eligible, a country must be very poor, have an
unsustainable debt burden and pursues good policies. And poor has been defined
as both eligible for support under the IMF's Poverty Reduction and Growth
Facility (PRGF) and for concessional financing from the World Bank, through
International Development Agency (IDA). Currently, Islamabad is working hard to
obtain PRGF package and concessional loans from the Bank to move towards
sustenance level of debt.
Welcoming the debt rescheduling of $1.7 billion by Paris
Club, Pakistan's Ambassador to the USA Dr Maliha Lodhi made a strong plea for
"debt forgiveness." Addressing the G-8 summit the chief executive, Gen
Pervez Musharraf, stressed that the developing world needed large scale debt
relief to bring about stability necessary for development.
IMF may release second tranche
The review mission of the International Monetary Fund (IMF),
headed by Ms Sena Eken, left Islamabad on Monday morning, giving a positive
signal that the Fund might release second tranche under $596 million Stand By
Arrangement (SBA), a senior finance ministry official told NNI.
"The mission that was due to leave for Washington on
Friday (Feb 23) extended its stay in Pakistan for three more days to renegotiate
the targets projected for this financial year," the official said.
The official did not give the details of the new targets
negotiated between Pakistan and the IMF. He, however, said that due to
drought-like situation, the new targets at macro-economic level had been settled
with the Fund for this financial year.
Railways to raise fares
Pakistan Railway has decided to increase fares of economy
class with effect from March 1. Informed sources said the railway has decided to
increase the fares of economy class by about 10 per cent. However, there will be
no change in the fares for journey upto a distance of 350km.
Chinese PM to visit Pakistan
Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji is expected to visit Pakistan
before July, official sources said on Monday. "While Premier Zhu's exact
schedule has not yet been conveyed to us, we expect him to visit South Asia
within the first half of this year," an official told newsmen.
A joint venture agreement was signed between NIT and UBL on
Monday, whereby NIT sales counters are proposed to be established at prime UBL
branches, a press release issued by NIT said.
In the initial phase, NIT's sale/repurchase operations would
begin from two designated branches of UBL, namely Shamsheer branch and North
KSE MD appointed
The Karachi Stock Exchange on Monday announced the
appointment of Noman Ahmed as managing director of the exchange.
A KSE press release introduced Noman Ahmed as a holder of
first class honours degree in Technology and Business Studies from the
University of Strathclyde in Glasgow and a member of the Institute of Chartered
Accountants of Scotland. He completed his articleship with KPMG Peat Marwick
McLintock in 1988.
No down-sizing in GCB after buyout: Khoja
Pakistan Industrial Credit & Investment Corporation (PICIC)
that has bought controlling shares of Gulf Commercial Bank does not intend to
close down any of its branches or lay off employees.
Managing Director of PICIC Muhammad Ali Khoja said this in
response to a question while speaking at a press conference at GCB head office
Khoja said after buying 60 per cent of GCB shares for Rs670
million, PICIC had taken over the management control over the bank and inducted
six directors on an eight-member board of directors of GCB. "But we are not
going to close down any of the 15 branches of Gulf Commercial Bank nor we are
laying off any of its 260 employees," he said.