Nepal | September 27, 2020

Debate on inviting strategic partnership in NT resurfaces

Himalayan News Service
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The issue of bringing in a strategic partner in the government-owned Nepal Telecom (NT) which has been in discussion since long has resurfaced once again following the start of a study by the company regarding the possible modality of bringing such a partner in the company.

Following a direction from the privatisation committee led by Finance Minister Yubaraj Khatiwada recently, NT has formed a committee to study an effective modality of welcoming a strategic partner company in the telecom.

“We have formed a committee to study the prospects of bringing a strategic partner and other operation modalities.

NT will initiate other required steps in this regard based on the recommendation of the committee,” informed Dilli Adhikari, managing director of NT. He mentioned that NT will invite the strategic partner through competition once the modality is confirmed.

Addressing a parliamentary committee meeting a few days ago, Finance Minister Khatiwada had said that NT itself should decide over what type of strategic partner it requires to boost commercial competitiveness of the telecom firm. Moreover, he had said that the government is ready to facilitate NT by easing procurement policies to invite a strategic partner in the company.

The issue regarding bringing a strategic partner in NT has been discussed since years. A few years back, NT had even hired a consultant and studied possible modalities of inviting such a partner.

NT, in December 2016, had signed an agreement with Analysys Mason Ltd of the United Kingdom to provide consultancy services to NT to acquire a strategic partner. The UK-based company had provided consultation service to NT in a bid to select a suitable foreign telecom firm for partnership.

The consultant company had carried out the due diligence audit (DDA) of NT and submitted the audit report to the telecom firm last year. The company had also prepared a tender document to acquire a strategic partner for NT. To prepare the DDA, Nepal Telecom had paid the consultant company a fee of Rs 190 million.

Though the consultant had submitted its study report to NT’s board, the process of bringing a strategic partner in NT has not been in the priority of the government.

Of late, Finance Minister Khatiwada, who was also been given the responsibility of the Ministry of Information and Communications Technology, is in favour of enhancing the commercial competitiveness of NT by bringing a strategic partner.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on August 12, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.

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