ISLAMABAD - The upper house of the Parliament yesterday adopted a report of a special committee to monitor implementation of Gas Infrastructure Development Cess (GIDC) Bill, 2015, despite opposition of the government.
The committee, in its report, recommended that the imposition of GIDC should be treated sector-wise as all sectors were ready to pay, but not retrospectively, adding the CNG sector should be given exemption in pursuance of court orders.
“Any CNG station that has not paid GIDC in gas bills to the gas distribution companies due to court orders shall be exempted from payment of arrears together, the report said.
The report also stated that since Ogra is empowered to exercise its powers on a non-discriminatory basis, it should notify prices of CNG in a fair and transparent manner, in accordance with the applicable rules/regulations and after seeking consultative feedback from the stakeholders.
About ceramic industry, the report said it should be treated at par with other industries as it was also incurring huge losses on account of energy shortage and smuggling.
The committee recommended that for Captive Power Producers (CPPs) producing electricity for their own consumption, no retrospective GIDC will be charged.
Winding up the debate in the house after the adoption of the report, Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said GIDC was levied under an act of the parliament by the previous government of Pakistan People’s Party and no one could waive off over Rs one billion to be collected from different sectors.
Separately, the illegal construction of eight high-rise residential and commercial complexes in Sector E-11 of Islamabad came under discussion in the house on a motion moved by PPP Senator Farhatullah Babar. Taking part in the debate, the lawmakers demanded the authorities to expose the “powerful elements” behind the scam. Later, the opposition senators also staged a token walkout in protest against the government.
Babar said the Islamabad High Court (IHC) had, through two verdicts, issued directions that the illegal construction activity be stopped, but the capital’s civic body and the ICT administration had failed to implement these orders because of the power and influence of those involved in it.
Today’s motion arose in the backdrop of admission last week by the CDA in reply to a Senate question that the high-rise buildings in E-11 were illegal.
Farhatullah Babar quoted from the court verdicts directing the CDA to stop construction work and ensure that no further construction is undertaken without a formal permission or NOC.
Refuting the claim that Sector E-11 fell under the exempted area, he said the court had also observed that none of the private respondents had been able to produce any documents or instrument in support of the claim that the area fell outside the jurisdiction of the CDA or was exempted.
“Last month, the residents of Sector E-11 were on road, protesting against illegal constructions in their vicinity that had threatened the environment as well overshadowed their houses,” he said. He called for an inquiry to expose the elements behind this brazen violation of the court orders and continuation of illegal construction activity that had threatened the environment.