Islamabad -  Senate Special Committee and the Ministry of Finance Friday failed to sort out the matter pertaining to the outstanding amount, in term of Gas Infrastructure Development Cess (GIDC), owed by various sectors.

“About Rs 100 billion on account of GIDC was outstanding against various sectors including Captive Power Plants (CPPs), Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) stations, general industry and others,” said the officials of the Ministry of Petroleum and Ministry of Finance while briefing the meeting of the Senate Special Committee on GIDC. The meeting was presided over by Senator Ilyas Bilour.

“We are saying from the beginning that Gas Infrastructure Development Cess (GIDC) is extortion made by the federal government, which (money) they are not going to spend on infrastructure development,” Senator Ilyas Bilour said. Money is being extorted from various sectors to be used for fulfilling the requirement of Punjab, he alleged.

Minister for Petroleum, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, briefing the committee, said that an amount of Rs51 billion was outstanding against CNG sector of which the sector has paid Rs 19 billion, while Rs 32 billion is still outstanding against them.

Abbasi said that during first round of talks the CNG station owners offered government to pay Rs 9 billion while the government had asked them to pay half of Rs 32 billion or Rs 16 billion but no agreement was reached. He added that in second round of talks, CNG association offered to pay Rs 10 billion while the government asked them to pay Rs 13 billion.

Petroleum Minister said that at present CNG stations in Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Balochistan were collecting GIDC from the end consumers but many of them are not depositing the amount in national kitty. Abbasi informed that the government was laying gas related infrastructure worth Rs 150 billion and said that in the past 15 years no infrastructure was developed in the country.

The meeting was informed that over 450 textile mills in Faisalabad are not operating due to energy crisis or other reasons and as a result thousands of people have become jobless.

Petroleum minister said that the government has not waived off the outstanding amount of any segment of the economy. He added said the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority included GIDC in the price of compressed natural gas (CNG) and all CNG outlets have collected it from end consumers; therefore, the sector must pay the amount.

The representatives of All Pakistan CNG Association were also invited by the committee to have their point of view. They said that they were willing to pay the amount as decided in the second round of talks.

Chairperson Oil and gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) Uzma Adil, giving her point of view, said that the best solution to end such issues is the de-regulation of the CNG prices and the authority has proposed the government to do so.

Secretary Ministry of Petroleum Arshid Mirza said that the government was also considering deregulating the CNG prices for which it has started consultations with different stakeholders and after getting their inputs it will prepare a summary in this connection and will submit to the Economic Coordination Committee of the Cabinet (ECC).