Nepal | July 10, 2020

Govt unlikely to bring in strategic partner in Nepal Telecom

Himalayan News Service
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Kathmandu, February 8

The government is unlikely to bring in a strategic partner for the state-owned Nepal Telecom (NT).

Though the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MoCIT) earlier had forwarded a proposal to bring in a strategic partner for NT to the Ministry of Finance (MoF) for its approval, Minister for Communications and Information Technology Gokul Prasad Baskota, recently revealed that the government is not in a mood to bring in such partnership at NT but is trying to make NT’s management stronger and boost its capacity.

“Boosting the capacity of NT itself through other means than bringing in a strategic partner is more logical,” said Baskota.

Such comment from Minister Baskota has come at a time when the due diligence audit (DDA) of NT has already been prepared targeting to bring in a foreign partner at the telecom firm.

Nepal Telecom, 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.

Moreover, the consultant company has already submitted the audit report to the telecom firm last year and 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.

A few years ago, a number of foreign telecom companies had expressed their interest to be a strategic partner of NT but the process has been delayed due to the government’s indecision.

The government had planned to bring in a strategic partner at NT for better delivery of telecommunication services to its customers. It had planned to divest up to 30 per cent of its shares in NT to the selected foreign strategic partner.

However, the current leadership at MoCIT seems to be against divesting NT’s share to any outsider creating uncertainty over whether or not NT will have a strategic partner in the near future.

A version of this article appears in print on February 09, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.

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