Govt's plan for NT's strategic partner materializing
KATHMANDU, Aug 20: The process to invite strategic partner for Nepal Telecom has finally moved ahead with completion of a preliminary draft and held series of meetings by a newly formed under the Ministry of Finance (MoF).
The new committee was formed almost a month ago after another committee formed earlier this year was unable to do any kinds if works necessary to find the strategic partner.
Although the government had decided to divest at least 26 percent of the NT´s share to a foreign partner about three years ago, the plan was in limbo due to lack of political consensus.
However, the recently formed committee which plans to submit the report by the end of this month, has already carried out the necessary discussion to prepare the groundwork to invite the strategic partner for state-owned operator.
“The work was stagnant since long because of various reasons, but now we have already completed necessary ground work for strategic partner,” one of the members of the committee said. The committee has prepared a timeline for the strategic partner and is working on bidding document at present.
Coordinator of the committee Baikuntha Aryal said, “We have prepared the drafts and the final report will be submitted within the deadline.”
The six-member committee includes two officials from Nepal Telecom (NT) Surya Bhakta Pokharel and Rajesh Joshi, under secretary of Ministry of Information and Communications Saileja Regmi and under secretary from Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Law and Justice.
Although the privatization process of the operator began in May, 2010 it failed to gain any momentum. The high-level taskforce had suggested the government to invite a strategic partner allowing the partner to own at least 26 percent equity shares.
The committee´s suggestion was based on growing competition against private operators and examples of state-owned operators in Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Pakistan that have already welcomed strategic partner to survive the tough competition.
NT is asking the government to facilitate the process of strategic partner to resist the growing competition with private operators. Officials at NT are hopeful that privatization and involvement of strategic partner will help them to take instant decision and to infuse huge investment.