Federal govt moves SC for GIDC urgent hearing

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Observer Report

Islamabad

The federal government on Friday approached the Supreme Court of Pakistan for urgent hearing over the Gas Infrastructure Development Cess so the matter is decided according to the law and Constitution.
The development comes a day after Prime Minister Imran Khan withdrew an ordinance, taking away the amnesty worth Rs208 billion to big defaulters who owed to the government as a GIDC levy.
In a statement, Prime Minister Imran Khan said he had made the move in the interest of transparency and good governance, and had directed the Attorney General to move an application for urgent hearing in the Supreme Court. The GIDC is a long-standing dispute in the industrial gas sector, with a total of Rs417 billion owed to the government in limbo due to GIDC litigation pending in the courts from January 2012 until Dec 2018.
It was first imposed in 2011 as a levy by the Pakistan People’s Party government on gas consumers in the industrial sector. The money collected was to be used for the construction of infrastructure projects such as the Iran-Pakistan pipeline, the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India pipeline, and other Liquefied Natural Gas projects. But the matter has been pending in courts since then, with successive governments unable to recover the money from big defaulters.
In late August, the PTI government waived off approximately Rs208 billion in GIDC through a controversial presidential ordinance, but it was withdrawn in just a few days. “An Ordinance was issued with a view to recover fifty percent of the stuck revenue by way of an out of Court settlement after consultation with the industry,” read the statement from the PM Office after the GIDC ordinance was withdrawn.