The local industrialists in a meeting at the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry strongly protested against the passage of the Gas Infrastructure Development Cess (GIDC) Bill from the parliament and called upon the government to urgently withdraw it as it will increase the cost of doing business, make the exports sector unviable in the global market and, cause closure of a large number of industrial units in the country, rendering thousands of workers jobless.
Chairing the meeting, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) President Muzzamil Hussain Sabri, said that businessmen have been expressing great concerns against GIDC ever since its introduction through the GIDC Act in 2011, while the top court of the country had also termed it illegal and had ordered that the amount collected on account of GIDC from the consumers be refunded to them.
However, it was highly unfortunate that the government totally ignored the concerns of the business community against this levy and went ahead with its plan to give legal cover to this controversial tax.
He said that government’s intransigent stand on the GIDC in spite of businesspersons’ protests and the Supreme Court’s rejection of its review petition has created disappointment in business community and this measure will give rise to inflation putting more burden on common man.
Abdul Rauf Alam, Group Leader said that government had claimed to utilise the funds raised through GIDC for developing the infrastructure of Pak-Iran and Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline projects and projected a collection of Rs 145 billion during the current financial year through this cess, while it has so far collected Rs 99 billion through this tax.
However, he termed it totally unjustified to start advance collection of cess for a work that has not been initiated yet.