Govt to impose yet another gas surcharge

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ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources has decided to further burden all categories of gas consumers with Rs15 per MMBTH district development surcharge, a senior official told The News. The ministry, headed by Adviser to the Prime Minister on Petroleum and Natural Resources Dr Asim Hussain, is preparing a summary seeking the imposition of this cess, which will then be pitched in the Council of Common Interests (CCI), chaired by the prime minister, for approval.

According to the official, Hussain has already nodded his approval. If the summary gets approved, the government will collect Rs1 billion every month, ostensibly for the development of gas-producing districts, which will then be disbursed for various development schemes by the district coordination officer (DCO) and representatives of the district concerned.

Interestingly, gas consumers are already paying gas development surcharge (GDS), gas infrastructure development cess as well as the GST. The amount collected under the GDS are given to the provinces from the divisible pool to develop the areas producing the gas.

However, the provincial governments utilise these amounts for various schemes in their respective capitals instead of developing the gas-producing areas. This is said to be the reason for the underdevelopment of these areas and a growing sense of deprivation among the people.

Gas consumers also pay gas infrastructure development cess for the funding of the proposed Iran-Pakistan, Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India and other gas pipeline schemes.If the proposal gets the green light, gas consumers in the Punjab will pay the most but benefit the least. The Punjab consumes 60 percent of the gas but produces only nine percent.

Courtesy: The News

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