Friday, October 27, 2006

Muna Nijem's reply to my query

Natasha has pointed out that our ex telecommunications regulator, Muna Nijem, is running for the post of the secretary general of the International Telecommunication Union. She has a web site to advocate her case.

Since everybody is interested in the Umniah case, and she was the head of the TRC at the time the license was issued, I wondered what Ms. Nijem had to say about the controversy. On a suggestion by Natasha, I left a comment on her blog, and she has been kind enough to answer my question.

Much of her reply is really the official line, which states that the opening of the communications market is better for the consumer. The most controversial aspect of the licensing process, in my opinion, was the price paid to the treasury. This became an issue after a similar license was issued in Egypt for a third cell phone operator which paid out licensing fees of almost thee billion dollars. Of course, people realize that the Egyptian market is much larger than the Jordanian one, but the difference between the two deals (1:500) is not close to the ratio between the sizes of the two markets.

Nijem alludes to this by pointing out that the actual revenues of the treasury should be calculated on the life time of the license (15 years), and not simply on the up front licensing fees paid in the beginning. She implies that the Egyptian license is different because the government will not share the revenues of the operator, which is the case with the Umniah license. The government has previously stated that the treasury will collect 240 million dinars over the period of the license. I don’t know if the Egyptian deal is similar or not. Clarification of this point specifically should dispel the doubts that surround this issue.

I would like to wish the best of luck to Nijem, and to thank her for the professional response to the voices of the blogosphere.

*************************
UPDATE: The following comment was left by Ms. Nijem. I thought it should be placed on the main post as well:

I want to thank all of you for taking the time to visit my site and for the show of support. The Umniah licensing is exactly what I stated; clean, pure and simple. It was done by transparent "due process" and with the approval of Council of ministers at every step. I am at your disposal, at a later stage, to hold a meeting w/all who are interested from you to explain things in the minutest details.

I thank you again, and promise all of you that I never compromise on honesty and honor, and I set extremely high standards for honesty and honor for myself. God, the Almighty, is always watching every small deed we do.

You are the future, and I believe in you. I lead by example and pray to God, and with your support that together we will do our utmost to serve humanity at large, to the best of our capabilities. God bless.

12 Comments:

At 6:20 PM, Anonymous Batir said...

An interesting and well prepared answer from Nijm. Regardless of the accuracy of the answer it is still refreshing to see that she took the matter seriously and devoted a good amount of time and mental activity for the answer and that proves again the increasing strength of the blogsphere. Well done for both Khalf and Muna Nijem.

 
At 7:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It seems like she side steps that question with all the discussion about how different deals in different countries are structured differently. Sure they are. But the real issue is was there some sort of insider deal going on here. She's stepping out of the fray by saying it was after her time, but it'd be good for her to at least weigh in and say that if such activity did occur it goes against everything she was about while in office to make it clear that she wouldn't have played any role in this. After all, she did help in the initial structuring of the deal. If in the end it appears a private sector party benefited greatly, you'd just need to follow the bread crumbs to find out how they managed to get such a deal.

I tell you, this has great relevance to what the ITU does. These guys decide who gets to orbit where, among other things. The profit that access provides is unbelievable. And the private-public contact within the ITU has always been part of the great globalization conspiracy -- if big companies control the skies, the little guys don't get a chance. If Muna can step up and make clear that she'd not be the type of leader that would put private over public by calling Umniah what it really seems to be, many people interested in this issue would rest a bit easier. ~The Informer

 
At 7:21 PM, Anonymous Hashmi Hashmi said...

How can this reply could be remotely considered to an answer???
The team of whoevers go on a 500-word Q&A session that does not answer anything and we are supposed to be doing backflips because (H.E. ka inno nagissna bass alqabb) was kind enough to let some schmuck write an unrrelated reply to the inquiry!!

Q: we think you are a corrupt authority figure who is a part of a conspiracy and fraud, what do you have to say?
A: The communication sector can use the competition!!!

 
At 7:57 PM, Anonymous Muna Nijem said...

I want to thank all of you for taking the time to visit my site and for the show of support. The Umniah licensing is exactly what I stated; clean, pure and simple. It was done by transparent "due process" and with the approval of Council of ministers at every step. I am at your disposal, at a later stage, to hold a meeting w/all who are interested from you to explain things in the minutest details.

I thank you again, and promise all of you that I never compromise on honesty and honor, and I set extremely high standards for honesty and honor for myself. God, the Almighty, is always watching every small deed we do.

You are the future, and I believe in you. I lead by example and pray to God, and with your support that together we will do our utmost to serve humanity at large, to the best of our capabilities.

God bless.

 
At 8:09 PM, Blogger Khalaf said...

Batir: These questions are out there, and it is in her best interest to answer them convincingly.

Anon: There does seem to be some fudging, and I would hope that a more unequivical statement on what happened after she left will be made. Unfortunately, the most questionable part of the deal (issuing the license) occurred on her watch.

HH: I think the answer is what might be expected. I found the explination on how the deal was structured "as framed by anon", to be the core of the reply. I agree that the the "H.E." deal seems pretentious. Pretentiousness is not a factor in the debate.

 
At 10:05 PM, Anonymous john frank said...

Hashmi Hashmi and Anonymous ....

People like you, people who believe that everything is a conspiracy theory, just make me sick,
what answer makes u comfortable ?

Scenario 1

YES she took a 1 million dollar bribe from Umniah, and she got a 10 % cut of the Umniah sale, and she is hiding it in her Swiss bank account!

Scenario 2

She is a part of a bigger “American” “capitalism” conspiracy to bring down the Arab and the Muslim nation, and buy having a third Mobile Company she is tearing down the Arab unity!

People like you are dreaming of the day 100 years from now, when Her grand grand grand son goes to the swiss bank and cash out the 10 million, so U can stand and say “I TOLD U SO 100 years ago” .. please keep on dreaming … !

 
At 10:26 PM, Anonymous Najeeb Jarrar said...

Dear all

Why to think of the umniah sale
While I can see only that he Jordan economy got huge benefits also

1- the price of the license
2- 4% to the student fund
3- 10% of revenue to the treasury

When Batelco bough Umniah it increased the market value of the company, which make the 4% for the student fund worth more and more

Also since umniah came to the market, Umniah prices is competitive to the other companies, also the prices of the other companies decreased since Umniah in the market, new offers, and new services also

Najeeb Jarrar

 
At 11:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Ms Nijem a corrupt official" This is most preposterous.The conspiracy theory which still dominates some people' minds is deplorable indeed.Ms Nijem made her point crystal clear, and it is only those, who are blinded by their own personal grudges and prejudices, who would choose to twist the unmistakabkle fact that the Omneyyah deal was a clean,professsional, honest and a fair deal to the best of every body concerned knowledge."Success begets success". These days I discovered that success begets hatred, jealousy, blockheadedness ,and most importantly , glaring lack of unprofessionalism.May Allah bless your souls.

 
At 1:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

WAKE UP PPL!!! When you'll stop thinking about this stupid conspiracy theory and when you'll stop feeling pity??? ppl like YOU guys ENJOY being "victims". Indeed the truth is that you are a bunch of jealous, hateful and unsuccessful to the bone. Instead of this negative criticisms effort try to show some support as she's the MOST and maybe the ONLY eligible candidate on "merit" bases ....

 
At 10:55 AM, Anonymous Hamzeh N. said...

I have to say she has an impressive resume. I'd like to know if anyone has a suggestion for another Jordanian who might make a better candidate. I don't know any.

 
At 2:38 AM, Blogger Arrabi said...

Thanks much ya Khalaf for this very nice post.
As you, Batir, and few others say, some major questions are still unanswered (i.e. how come the Egyptian license was 500 times more).

I hope we can answer these questions BEFORE we start pointing fingers and calling others "conspiracy theorists" or "naives".

I really hope some more info will be added here soon. Let's not let these questions go unanswered.

 
At 8:56 AM, Blogger Khalaf said...

Arrabi: I will follow up with any new information that becomes available.

Cheers!

 

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