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French Version


Bassil for Lebanese telecom privatization - at right price

Newly appointed Telecommunications Minister Jebran Bassil said on Monday that he supported the privatization of the cellular networks at the right price.

"I don't think any of the politicians in Lebanon are against the privatization of the telecom. But any privatization should be done in a transparent manner and ensure a good income for the treasury," Bassil said following a handover ceremony at the ministry.

Bassil, from the Free Patriotic Movement, stressed that the party he represents strongly favors free economy and liberalization of all economic sectors.

Outgoing Telecommunication Minister Marwan Hamadeh was supposed to have privatized Lebanon's two cellular networks in 2007.

But the long-running political dispute between March 14 forces and the opposition and the security incidents delayed the auction of the cellular lines.

Privatization of the telecom sector is a key element of the Paris III donor conference paper and some rating agencies expressed fear that the opposition in the Cabinet may bloc the sale of the sector this year.

"The most important things about any privatization are that it guarantee handsome revenue for the state and above all excellent service to the citizen," Bassil said.

Hamadeh had earlier said that Lebanon can fetch up to $6 billion from the privatization of the telecom, adding that all the proceeds would be used to reduce the $43.2 billion public debt.

Beirut 15-07-2008
Redaction
The Daily Star



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