Minister wants 100% privatisation plan approved by December

19 Oct 2005

Lebanon’s Economy Minister Sami Haddad has reiterated his desire to see the full privatisation of the state’s telecoms assets to help reduce the country’s USD36 billion debts. Speaking to the local Daily Star newspaper, Haddad said he believed the sale of the government’s 100% stakes in dominant fixed line operator Ogero and duopoly cellcos MTC Touch Lebanon and Cellis was expected to raise at least USD3 billion. The Minister wants to have a sell-off plan in place before a meeting with donor states in Beirut in December, which will be used to ask for more than USD4.4 billion in loans to help fund the widescale privatisation of state industries. ‘I am in favour of privatising 100% of the telecom sector and we need to do it soon because the market conditions are very suitable,’ he said. ‘Privatisation will help create more jobs, especially in telecom and IT fields. It is a win, win, win situation.’

Lebanon, Alfa (MIC 1), Ogero Telecom, Touch Lebanon (MIC 2)