ISLAMABAD - The government in the Wednesday’s National Assembly proceedings managed to get three bills passed, including ‘Gas Infrastructure Development Cess (Amendment) Bill, 2018’.

The government side, with the thin presence of lawmakers in the house, quickly passed three bills with a majority vote in the house.

The ‘Gas Infrastructure Development Cess (Amendment) Bill, 2018’ with certain amendments has enabled the CNG stations to pay half (Rs12 billion) of the GIDC outstanding amount to the government. The CNG stations in Pakistan were collecting the GAS Infrastructure Development Cess (GIDC) pursuant to the provision of GIDC action, 2015 through sale price of CNG notified by the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority from time to time.

However, the same was not paid to M/s ‘Sui Northern Pipeline Limited’ and ‘Sui Southern Gas Company Limited’ for its onward payment to federal government on account of various court stay orders.

“The CNG stations through the All Pakistan CNG Association have now agreed with the federal government to pay approximately half of the cess payable pertaining to the period from January 1, 2012 to May 22, 2015 amounting to Rs12billion,” the statement of objects and reasons of the bill says.

The standing committee of both the houses had earlier approved "Gas Infrastructure Development Cess (Amendment) Bill, 2018" with certain amendments which will enable the CNG stations to pay half (Rs12 billion) of the GIDC outstanding amount to the government.

The Senate standing committee had informed that the CNG stations collected the GIDC as per notified tariff of Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) but did not pay to the government. It was decided in the meeting that the CNG station would pay GIDC through SNGPL or SSGCL.

This amendment will provide a relief to the CNG owners and instead of the outstanding amount of Rs19 billion they will pay only Rs 12 billion to the government, says the bill.

The house also passed ‘The Legal Practitioners and Bar Councils (Amendment) Bill, 2018’. The statement of objects and reasons of the bill says: “Pakistan Bar Council and Law and Justice Commission of Pakistan have been instrumental in proposing amendment in the legal practitioners and Bar Council Act,1973”.

“Input of these two esteemed organisations and after long deliberations with other stakeholders, it is agreed that there should be one date of holding elections of provincial Bar Council and Islamabad Bar Council,” says the bill.

Some other amendments proposed by these two organisations have also been incorporated in the bill. “In order to make procedure for grant-in-aid simpler, section 57 is proposed to be substituted to empower the respective law minister to approve the grant-in-aid to a Bar Council or Bar Association,” according to the statement of objects and reasons of the bill. The third bill was ‘The Pakistan Council of Renewable Energy Technologies Bill, 2018’.

Earlier, the house remained suspended for over three minutes due to lack of required quorum in the house. The lack of strength was pointed by a PPP’s lawmaker Ramaish Lal with the onset of the proceedings. The house throughout the proceedings witnessed thin presence on both sides of the aisle.