SC dismisses petitions against imposition of GIDC, companies to pay Rs417bn

ISLAMABAD : The Supreme Court of Pakistan Thursday announced its reserved judgement on Gas Infrastructure Development Cess (GIDC), dismissing petitions challenging imposition of cess. A three-judge apex court bench, headed by Justice Mushir Alam handed a split 2-1 verdict.  It had reserved its judgement in the case after hearing arguments put forward by lawyers representing the appellants and the government in Feb. Last year in Sept, the government had promulgated a controversial ordinance offering Rs220 billion financial amnesty to fertilisers, CNG sector, IPPs, power generation companies and other businesses. In view of backlash from opposition parties, Prime Minister Imran Khan withdrew the GIDC (Amendment) Ordinance, 2019 and directed the then attorney general, Anwar Mansoor, to move an application for urgent hearing in the Supreme Court so the matter is decided at the earliest. Total amount involved in the GIDC litigation from January 2012 till December 2018 is Rs417 billion.In a statement, the PM Office had said, “The prime minister, in the interest of transparency and good governance, has decided to withdraw the said Ordinance and direct the Attorney General to move an application for an urgent hearing in the Supreme Court.” “The prime minister wishes to inform the nation that going to the court carries a risk because the decision could go either way. The government could get the whole amount or could lose it all, and possibly forgo any prospects of future revenue collections under this head.”  It is pertinent here to mention that the former government had imposed the tax of Rs 417 billion while the incumbent regime had waived Rs 220 billion. The government then withdrew the waiver ordinance after the opposition’s criticism.

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