ISLAMABAD: While announcing to auction a telecom spectrum of the third generation next month, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar on Tuesday appealed to the opposition parties to keep politics separate from economy so that Pakistan may remain an attractive destination for foreign investors.
“The next auction of the telecom spectrum will be held on June 20 and proceeds from the auction are critical for budgetary purposes,” said Dar, while speaking at a forum on world telecommunication and information society day. The minister encouraged telecom operators to participate in the bidding.
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Dar said the government had managed to achieve economic stability during last three years and political instability may distract the country from the path of development.
His comments came in the wake of growing pressure on the government after Panama Papers leaks in which the family of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has been accused of holding offshore companies along with hundreds of other Pakistani nationals.
“If momentum of economic stability continues and the economy is decoupled from politics, Pakistan can become the world’s 18th largest economy by 2030,” he said.
He said the PM had transparently presented a macro picture of his assets and requested NA speaker to constitute a parliamentary committee to further probe the Panama leaks matter.
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“The government is ready to discuss opposition parties’ Terms of Reference for setting up a judicial commission to probe the leaks,” he added.
For the upcoming auction, the Ministry of Information Technology & Telecommunications has issued policy directive to the PTA for auctioning one block of 10 MHz paired spectrum in 850 MHz band. It has set the base price of the block at $395 million.
All existing mobile operators as well as new entrants will be eligible to participate in the upcoming auction.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 18th, 2016.
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