RAWALPINDI  - Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI) President Syed Asad Mashadi has strongly opposed the re-imposition of Gas Infrastructure Development Cess (GIDC) through an Ordinance and said that it would harm the economic uplift of the country.

He demanded of the government to withdraw GIDC at earliest to save the industry from consequences. He was exchanging these views with traders and industrialists in a meeting held here at the Chamber on Friday. Senior Vice President Mian Humayun Parvez, Vice President Saboor Malik and others members were also present on the occasion.

Asad Mashadi said that Peshawar and Sindh High Courts had already issued judgments against the imposition of GIDC while the Supreme Court of Pakistan had also refused to give legal cover to GIDC and Lahore High Court also issued a stay order against GIDC Ordinance 2014. He said after these decisions, there was no legal justification to impose said tax through an Ordinance.

President RCCI said that main purpose of levying GIDC was to mobilise funds for the development of gas infrastructure for Iran-Pakistan (IP) and Turkmenistan Afghanistan Pakistan India (TAPI) Pipeline projects. However, the government has so far failed to start any work for the development of gas infrastructure for said projects, hence there is no single reason left for the government to collect GIDC.

Mashadi said that government had set a tax collection target of Rs.145 billion through GIDC during this fiscal year while it has collected about Rs.84 billion from consumers under this tax since 2011. He stressed that after the High and Supreme Court’s decision, government should refund the whole collected amount to the consumers. He said instead of taking anti-business measures, government should facilitate the business community for revival of business activities in the country to generate more revenue for the government.