lahore - The All Pakistan CNG Association (APCNGA) on Wednesday questioned legal status of Gas Infrastructure Development Cess (GIDC) imposed by the government on gas consuming sectors.

Government has been collecting billions as GIDC from CNG and other gas consuming sectors citing to finance the construction of Pak-Iran gas pipeline while on the other hand top government functionaries have frequently said that the project is difficult to implement due to international pressure, it said.

How can government collect billions of rupees from commercial sectors to support a stalled project without considering that GIDC has increased cost of doing business and triggered inflation, said Ghiyas Abdullah Paracha, Chairman Supreme Council APCNGA.

In a statement, he said that all the gas consuming sectors were paying Rs 100 as GIDC for consuming one million British Thermal Units (mmbtu) while the CNG sector was paying Rs 200 for the same which was discrimination.

He said that the government hiked GIDC to Rs 300 per mmbtu in the federal budget on all the sectors except domestic sector which was reversed to Rs 100 and Rs 150 after the strong opposition by the business community.

However, the CNG sector was discriminated again as we are being forced to pay Rs 300 on consumption of one mmbtu which will have an impact on prices of the commodity, said Ghiyas Paracha.

The leader of the CNG sector said that government has been contacted time and again to resolve pricing and taxation issues but nothing has moved an inch in the right direction which is hurting the once vibrant sector.

Government should provide natural gas as well as enabling environment to the CNG sector if it wants to collect taxes as owners of the closed outlets will not be able to pay taxes.