Zardari’s quiet UAE visit to find solution to Pak’s economic woes

February 24th, 2011 - 2:36 pm ICT by ANI  

Islamabad, Feb 24(ANI): As Pakistan was busy watching the Raymond Davis saga unfold, President Asif Ali Zardari quietly took an unannounced trip to Dubai to explore options to solve the country’s economic crunch.

A few days ago, Zardari visited the Gulf state for a couple of hours to seek the intervention of the UAE leadership for getting the payment of 800 million dollars that Etisalat owes to Islamabad for the country’s largest privatisation transaction- Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited, the Dawn reports.

Etisalat, which is the largest telecommunications company in the UAE, has been holding back payment of about 800 million dollars from the 2.8-billion-dollar PTCL’s privatisation proceeds for about four years, due to a dispute with the Pakistan government over the legal transfer of land and property titles.

The government had sold about 26 per cent stake along with management control of the PTCL in July 2005.

“The entire amount is expected within a few days,” an official said, adding that the dispute between the government and Etisalat over the delay in transfer of some land titles to the PTCL in Sindh had been resolved.

Islamabad hopes that this breakthrough, along with two other major steps- the government’s plans to raise another 1 billion dollars (about 86 billion rupees) from the sale of assets and about 46 billion rupees from new tax measures within the current fiscal year- will strengthen Pakistan’s case before the International Monetary Fund.

According to the report, Islamabad had put its talks with the IMF on hold, which were tentatively scheduled for this week in Dubai, to finalise these three measures before seeking the revival of the IMF’s programme.

In the latest development, Pakistan’s Federal Board of Revenue Chairman Salman Siddique told the Senate’s Standing Committee on Finance on Wednesday that the government had prepared new revenue measures worth 46 billion dollars to put the IMF programme back on track. (ANI)

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