ISLAMABAD: M/s Telenor, a Norwegian Telecom Company, might consider closing operations in Pakistan after failure of merger efforts with Ufone, well-informed sources in Board of Investment (BoI) told Business Recorder.
According to Syed Tariq Fatemi, Special Assistant to Prime Minister, on December 5, 2022, Ambassador Per Albert Ilsaas of Norway called on him to raise the issues being faced by two Norwegian companies operating in Pakistan namely Scatec, a leading name in alternative energy, and M/s Telenor, one of the major telecom companies in Pakistan.
Scatec, in partnership with Nizam Energy, is establishing three solar power plants of total capacity of 150-MW in Sukkur. Scatec holds 75 % of the project’s equity, with the remaining 25% belonging to Nizam Energy. The Ambassador maintained that the project would be operational in another six months. He did; however, highlight the problem being faced by the company in making outbound payments to its vendors. To ensure timely completion of the project, the Ambassador requested “our facilitation on the matter”.
The Ambassador also apprised the SAPM that the CEO of Scatec had to postpone his earlier scheduled visit to Pakistan on 6-7 December, but would now be arriving later. This visit, according to SAPM, would be a good opportunity for Board of Investment (BoI) and Power Divisions to meet with him to thrash out his company’s issues, as well as, to encourage the Scatec to increase its investment in alternative energy sector of Pakistan.
The ambassador also hinted at Telenor’s growing unhappiness about operating in Pakistan due to low profitability of the telecom sector. Furthermore, the ambassador emphasized that after the failure of Telenor’s merger with Ufone, the company might consider closing its operations in the country.
Fatemi argued that M/s Telenor has a sizeable investment in Pakistan and shutting down their operations would have significant implications on Pakistan’s domestic economy. In this context, Board of Investment may consider engaging with the company’s representatives to explore possible options for convincing them to stay in Pakistan.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2022