ISLAMABAD - Absence of assurances from abroad to finance infrastructure development of Iran-Pakistan (IP) gas pipeline project has seemingly forced the cash-starved incumbent government to fetch multibillions from the over-burdened poor masses through imposing Infrastructure Development Levy (IDL) on natural gas. Leaving no stone unturned to press the already hard-pressed poor masses, the money-starved government is likely to impose a new kind of tax in a bid to generate $1.2 billion to lay infrastructure of IP gas pipeline project, sources well-aware of the development shared, adding that formal approval of this levy would be sought from the upcoming Council of Common Interests (CCI) reportedly scheduled on August 25. The government is mustering up its efforts to exploit a domestic source of financing to generate $1.2 billion by imposing a new kind of tax (IDL) on natural gas, whose impact is likely to be passed on to the consumers resulting in another hike in gas prices, the sources added. Fearing a severe energy shortfall, the ministry of petroleum (MoP) is also gearing up its efforts to seek consent of provinces, which are major stakeholders in gas production, and therefore the proposal will be tabled before the CCI, the sources told. They were of the view that the government had projected potential generation of Rs 25 billion ($300 million) per annum by imposing this levy to ensure gas in the country to get rid of soaring energy crisis. The ministry has so far not proposed the level of IDL, which is likely to be developed after the CCIs approval, an insider source informed and added, The IDL is being proposed to finance all gas import projects including IP, Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) and Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) imports. To find a way regarding cash and technical constraints hampering full capacity utilisation of domestic financing is being probed to ensure billion of rupees from the pockets of the poor nation, the sources said. According to the sources, in the first phase, the government plans to generate $1.2 billion to finance IP gas pipeline project. The government plans to generate 300 million dollars from local banks and some financing from foreign countries like China and Russia. The revenues generated through imposition of IDL will also be utilised to retire loans of local banks and international investors, the sources maintained. It is worth mentioning that Minister for Water and Power Syed Naveed Qamar, in the recent meeting of the Pak-China joint Energy Group, held in Beijing had also sought strategic investment from China to finance the IP gas pipeline project. Pakistan has also already made a formal offer to Russian Energy Giant Gazprom, the largest extractor of natural gas in the world, to participate in the IP gas pipeline project. Additionally, at present, the government is working on three gas import projects - IP, TAPI and LNG projects. Under around $7.5 billion TAPI gas pipeline project, Pakistans share will be 1.35 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd). Under the IP gas pipeline project, Pakistan will import 570-mmcfd gas to be extended to 1 bcfd. Public sector gas company Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) has received Expression of Interests (EOIs) from 17 companies to import LNG equal to 500 mmcfd.