The 3G spectrums auction has been postponed after the international investors said they were unable to come up with the finances in the given time span and because of the difficulties being faced in hiring a consultant for the auction, said the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority here on Friday.
In an official handout, the PTA said that during the discussions with international investors, they raised the point that the tentative timelines published by PTA for the auction process were difficult to meet. The PTA said it would soon announce fresh dates for auction.
The government had given three months deadline to PTA to auction the 3G licences and the now vacant Instaphone licence, aimed at raising about a billion dollars to restrict the budget deficit. However, PTA and the Auction Supervisory Committee, headed by Finance Minister Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh failed to observe the deadlines.
The statement said that other relevant stakeholders including Auction Supervisory Committee had emphasised the necessity of appointing the consultant.
In the policy directive issued in December 2011 the government had asked the PTA to appoint an internationally reputed consultant to oversee the transaction aimed at ensuring transparency. But the PTA tabled a proposal in front of the ASC on January 6 that instead of hiring the consultant the PTA’s services could be utilised. The ASC had endorsed the PTA proposal, according to the official documents available with The Express Tribune.
The PTA insisted that keeping its tradition of taking stakeholders on board and to make all possible efforts towards a highly transparent auction process, the regulatory authority has initiated the process of hiring the consultant of international repute.
It said requirements have been advertised in the local and international media and consultant will be appointed after fulfilling all rules and regulations of the government.
While the PTA now insists on fulfilling all legal requirements in hiring of the consultant, it had tried in vain to seek cabinet’s nod in waiving off the PPRA rules.
Sources in the Ministry of Information Technology told The Express Tribune that chief executive officers of telecom companies had met with the Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani on February 23.
They had also requested to the government that if it wanted to complete the transaction by March then half of the bid amount should be received in the next fiscal year to provide them more space for arranging the money.
However, the finance ministry did not agree to the proposal as it wanted to complete to raise the money for budget financing, the sources added.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 10th, 2012.