ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly on Tuesday passed the Gas Infrastructure Development Cess (GIDC) Bill 2014 with an aim to generate funds for financing different energy projects.
The objective is to enact a law for imposing the cess, besides generating finances for the government. The house adopted four amendments to the bill introduced by Syed Naveed Qamar of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP).
Highlighting the salient features and responding to the queries of opposition members, Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said the Supreme Court had declared in its verdict that the cess was not a tax. “This clearly shows that it is not a money bill and falls within the domain of the federal government.”
He pointed out that the bill was passed by the National Assembly in 2011 as well and collection was being made at that time. The basic concept of the cess, he said, was that the gas consumers should bear the burden as the industry was consuming gas for generating electricity.
“Today no province is self-reliant in gas, though the country is producing around four billion cubic feet per day,” Abbasi said, adding since the demand had doubled, the gas sector needed an investment of Rs1,000 billion to maintain the system.
“The share of gas in the energy mix is 50%. If we do not have proper infrastructure, we will not be able to increase production to meet demand.”
The minister also said he had written a letter to heads of all political parties, revealing details of liquefied natural gas (LNG) import, and added the LNG price was linked with oil including diesel and furnace oil.
“Soon a contract will be signed pertaining to the price for LNG imports, keeping in view the national interest.”
Published in The Express Tribune, May 20th, 2015.
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