Govt in negotiation with CNG sector to settle GIDC dues: Khaqan

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ISLAMABAD, Dec 2 (APP): Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Shahid Khaqan Abbasi Friday said the government was in negotiation with Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) sector to settle outstanding amount on account of the Gas Infrastructure Development Cess (GIDC).

The government could not waive any tax on its own as any settlement regarding recovery of the outstanding GIDC could only be made through the Parliament, he apprised the Senate Special Committee Monitoring Implementation of the GIDC Bill-2015.

He said the CNG stations had collected the GIDC as per notified tariff of Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA), but did not pay to the government.

Representatives of All Pakistan CNG Association (APCNGA), led by
Ghiyas Abdullah Paracha, apprised the body that they held meetings with officials of the ministries of petroleum and finance, and offered to pay Rs 10 billion against the total around Rs 32 billion outstanding amount to settle the GIDC payment issue.

The committee chairman Ilyas Ahmad Bilour was of the view that
the GIDC was meant for the gas infrastructure development but it was not being utilized appropriately.

Minister Khaqan Abbasi brushed aside the impression and said that
the GIDC was being spent judiciously, adding that a gas pipeline from
Karachi to Lahore was being laid at an estimated cost of Rs 1500 billion to transport regassified liquefied natural gas.

The body discussed that the bill should be treated sector wise and noted that all sectors were ready to pay but not retrospectively.

While, the ministry took the stance that The GIDC Act 2015 as passed
by the parliament provided that the cess collected by the company from gas consumers under the GIDC Act 2011 and GIDC Ordinance 2014 would be valid under the provisions of the GIDC Act 2015.

“Therefore, the question of not paying the cess retrospectively does not arise.”

The committee suggested that there should be a certificate from professionals like Federal Board of Revenue or chartered accountant firms whether any entity collected the GIDC from consumers or not, directing the concerned to devise a mechanism accordingly.

Among others, the meeting was attended by Senators Saleem Mandviwala, Saeed Ghani and Muhammad Mohsin Khan Leghari, secretaries petroleum and finance besides chairperson OGRA.