Outgoing telecoms minister remains bullish about four year reign

27 Apr 2005

Alan Tabourian on Monday took over the role of Lebanese Telecommunications Minister, as his predecessor took the chance to highlight some of the disputed achievements made by his ministry in the past four years. Outgoing chief Jean Louis Qordahi said that during his reign net income from the wireless market’s two state-owned operators had jumped from USD300 million to USD700 million annually, adding that the ministry had transferred USD890 million to the state coffers in 2004 alone. Qordahi dismissed criticism that he had not done enough to encourage privatisation during his stint in charge and said he was unrepentant over the recent international arbitration ruling that ordered the state to pay USD266 million to France Télécom (FT) for the premature termination of a management contract for mobile operator Cellis. The state had originally planned to contest the decision, but now appears to have changed its mind. ‘We are not too concerned by this decision because the net revenues from both networks in the past three years and four months are almost USD3 billion,’ a bullish Qordahi told the Daily Star. Most recently, the Lebanese government has been ordered to pay American Telecom Group USD420 million following a US District Court ruling that the Oakland-based provider was unfairly disqualified by the Telecoms Ministry from bidding for the management contracts of the country’s two mobile operators. Again, the state has refused to accept the decision and is now threatening to counter-sue the American group.

Lebanon, Alfa (MIC 1)