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SC asked to review tax to provide relief to masses

The Islamabad Women’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IWCCI) on Sunday said that Gas Infrastructure Development Cess (GIDC) should be abolished as it has failed to meet the stated objectives. Supreme Court should review legal and constitutional position of the fee to provide relief to masses and the business community, said President IWCCI Farida Rashid.

Speaking to business community, she said that Parliament passed the Gas Infrastructure Development Cess Act 2011 in November last year and imposed it on January 12th 2012 while rates were revised upward on July 1st.

Farida Rashid said that masses were told that the levy will help settle energy crisis as the money raised will be used to finance import of gas from Iran and Turkmenistan and establishing infrastructure to import LNG.

However, the ministry of petroleum could not initiate anything concrete to prefer to depend on statements and claims which has left the surcharge useless.

Funds are being collected to the tune of billions of rupees per month while there is no progress on the ground which has resulted in some 5000 law suits in courts filed by individuals, manufacturers, and businessmen associations, she informed.

Those who have moved courts have not only faced hike in cost of doing business but they also fear that their money will not be used for the purpose for which the tax is being raised.

Farida Rashid said that some estimates suggest that government has so far collected around 86 billion rupees and masses have a right to know who is spending this amount and for what motive.

The cess has substantially pushed cost of doing business at a time when businesses desperately need to stay competitive in the region and the rest of the world, she said.

Farida Rashid suggested that the tax should be scrapped or its utilisation should not be left to petroleum ministry only to ensure early removal of gas shortages which will also help create jobs, end defaults, stop closures, invite fresh investments and revive exports.

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