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MENAFN - Khaleej Times - 06/02/2014

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(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Pakistan seeks the UAE government's help to resolve the long-pending 800 million payment issue with etisalat over acquiring a 26 per cent stake in PTCL with management control in 2005.

Pakistan's Minister for Finance, Economic Affairs, Revenue and Statistics Senator Muhammad Ishaq Dar raised the issue during a meeting with the UAE's Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Dr Anwar Mohammed Gargash in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday.

Dar, who is in the UAE to attend the International Monetary Fund's review meeting for Pakistan's economy, sought the UAE government's assistance in facilitating the release of funds held by etisalat over handing over of PTCL properties to the company. He expressed the hope that the UAE government would intervene to help resolve the issue.

Dr Gargash assured the Pakistani finance minister to take up the matter with the UAE leadership.

An etisalat consortium bought a 26 per cent stake in PTCL with management control for 2.6 billion in 2005. The telecom firm still holds about 800 million payment until its affiliate [PTCL] gets ownership of all 'disputed properties'.

According to sources, out of 131 'disputed properties', about 52 have already been transferred while another 56 have been cleared for hand over to PTCL.

"About 23 properties are involved in litigation and not transferable until they get cleared from courts," sources said.

Etisalat did not respond to requests for comment.

During the meeting with Dr Gargash, Dar also proposed that the UAE may consider relaxation in terms of payment of crude oil purchases by Pakistan from the UAE's largest oil company Adnoc.

Dr Gargash appreciated the pro-business policies of the present government of Pakistan. He assured that the UAE government would extend support to Pakistan to attract foreign investment.

"Pakistan needs to increase business outreach not only to the public sector, but also to the private sector. A number of UAE nationals intend to go to Pakistan for investment because they are familiar with the country and its people," he said.

Dar also met Shaikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and the UAE Minister of Finance and Industry, and discussed matters of bilateral interests.

Dar apprised Shaikh Hamdan that Pakistan's economy has been put on track through enforcement of financial discipline. He said the present government believes in market economy and facilitation of businesses to enhance economic growth.

"Prospects of natural gas in Pakistan are bright, therefore, the government is incentivizing oil and gas exploration to overcome energy shortages by tapping internal resources," he said.

Shaikh Hamdan assured that his government would extend all possible cooperation for economic development of Pakistan. He also appreciated the invaluable contributions of the expatriate Pakistani community in the development of the UAE.

 






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