The Himalayan Times quotes an unnamed source at the Finance Ministry as saying that the management of state-owned national PTO Nepal Telecom (NT) is guilty of not showing any enthusiasm towards developing a business strategy for the company, going as far as to call it ‘lethargic’ when it comes to formulating an assertive business plan. Further, the finance ministry employee also accused the Ministry of Information and Communications (MoCI), the agency responsible for overseeing NT’s and the industry’s activities, of exhibiting ‘indifference’ towards its future business plan or in bringing NT’s team into line. ‘Even the MoCI has not shown any interest in making the management more active,’ he reportedly said. More worryingly, the source claims that some high-level officials are actively lobbying to block the state’s efforts to sell off a stake in NT to a strategic partner, and claims that people within the telco are anxious to prevent a sell off as they are looking to make ‘a quick buck at NT’ themselves.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, last month the government committee formed to oversee the process of finding a strategic partner for NT recommended the sale of a 30% stake in the state-owned operator. At the time, finance secretary Krishna Hari Baskota was quoted as saying that the sale should be completed within the next 18 to 24 months. As it stands, the government owns a 91.49% stake in NT, having already divested a 4.68% shareholding to employees and 3.83% to the general public.