ISLAMABAD - Succumbing the pressure of government, Law Division has finally decided to vet the summary of Petroleum Ministry seeking further addition in already imposed gas infrastructure development surcharge (GIDS) up to Rs159/mmbtu on five various sectors including CNG by 1st July.

Well-placed sources aware of the development informed TheNation that Law Division has given its nod on the summary of Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources (MP&NR) seeking further hike up to Rs 159 per mmbtu in the already imposed cess by July this year. They said earlier Law Division ostensibly turned down the summary but later succumbing to the persistent pressure from Dr Asim Hussain, Minister for Petroleum, it has to vet it. “Dr Asim himself visited Law Division yesterday evening and left no stone unturned to ensure the nod of Law Division on it, sources said, adding that Dr Asim while influencing the Division also got deleted the condition earlier it advised to the ministry (MP&NR) to get the consent of the Council of Common Interest (CCI) for addition in GIDS during fiscal year 2012-13.

Sources also raised some questions that how Law Division earlier rejected the summary if it has to vet it later. Why Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources is all-out to benefit gas utilities and their influential shareholders at the cost of pressed gas consumers bearing the brunt of skyrocketing prices in the country? Is there any provision in the constitution/ law that permits Law Division to vet the summary that it had turned down earlier?

It is to be noted here that earlier Law Division while turning down the summary advised the MP&NR to get approval from the Council of Common Interest (CCI) while imposing the GIDS on various sectors including CNG sector through finance bill. Proposed addition in the imposed GIDS on the CNG sector was estimated to further jack up CNG price by Rs15/kg by July in the country.

Sources further informed that imposed GIDS after this addition would witness raise from Rs141/mmbtu to Rs300/mmbtu in KPK, Balochistan and Potohar regions of the CNG, while addition from Rs79/mmbtu to Rs200/mmbtu in Sindh and Punjab.

Further, additional raise from Rs197/mmbtu to Rs300/mmbtu on fertilizer sector, and on industrial sector a raise from Rs13/mmbtu to Rs100/mmbtu and on IPPs and KESC including WAPDA power plants an addition from Rs70/mmbtu to Rs100/mmbtu was decided by the ministry. This decision of addition of proposed raise in the GIDS of five different sectors by the ministry (MP&NR) was to construct Iran-Pakistan gas pipelines and Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan and India (TAPI) gas pipeline.

Furthermore, this addition in the already imposed surcharge (GIDS) was estimated to earn revenue for the finance ministry worth Rs102billion annually in total while Rs55billion for IP and TAPI gas pipelines.

It is worth mentioning that the MP&NR in its summary had sought imposition of Rs159/mmbtu for Khyber Pukhtunkhwa, Balochistan and Potohar regions on CNG, while Rs121/mmbtu on Sindh and Punjab regions on Compressed Natural Gas (CNG). Similarly, the ministry had sought addition in the surcharge (GIDS) worth of Rs103/mmbtu for fertilizer sector, and Rs87/mmbtu on the Industrial sector, while Rs73/mmbtu for Karachi Electric Supply Company (KESC) and WAPDA power plants. Further, Rs30/mmbtu raise in the imposed GIDS for Independent Power Plants (IPPs) was also sought for implementation.