Govt moves SC over GIDC, seeks early hearing

ISLAMABAD: The federal government moved the Supreme Court (SC) on Friday over the controversial Gas Infrastructure Development Cess (GIDC) Ordinance, an amnesty scheme of its type, and sought an early hearing of the GIDC-related cases.

Following the directives of Prime Minister Imran Khan, Attorney General Anwar Mansoor Khan filed a petition at the top court’s registrar office, seeking immediate hearing of the case.

The petition stated that the cases related to the ordinance are pending since 2017, while the delay is causing problems to retrieve revenue belonging to the federal government. It pleaded the office to approve the petition for an immediate hearing.

Prime Minister Imran on Wednesday withdrew the much-debated ordinance in view of the recent controversy that allowed to waive off Rs210 billions to the industrialists through a presidential decree.

According to a statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), the premier had decided to withdraw the presidential ordinance regarding the GIDC and directed the attorney general to “approach the Supreme Court for urgent hearing of the matter”.

However, the government was concerned over going to the SC, saying the decision could go either way and then it wouldn’t get even half of the money under the GIDC head.

“Going to court carries a risk because the decision could go either way. This means that the government could get the whole amount or could lose it all and possibly forgo any prospect of future revenue collection under the head,” added the statement.

“Also on top of this, the government could be saddled with the burden of administering refunds of approximately Rs295 billion of the principal amount.”

The government attracted criticism in recent days for granting major discount worth around Rs 420bn in terms of GIDC, payable by fertiliser plants, power plants, general industry and the CNG sector. It extended Rs 210 billion waver to the gas sector businesses under the GIDC ordinance.

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