ISLAMABAD - The Senate Standing Committee on Finance on Tuesday offered mediation between the Ministry of Finance and All Pakistan CNG Association (APCNGA) on the issue of outstanding amount of Rs12 billion on account of GIDC against the Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) stations.

The committee proposed that APNCGA should pay 40 percent advance on account of GIDC against the government demand of 60 percent. The Senate Special Committee on Gas Infrastructure Development Cess (GIDC) in February 2017 had recommended to the government to recover an outstanding amount of Rs12 billion against the CNG stations. However, the government and CNG station owners were at loggerheads over the payment of GIDC.

The Senate’s Standing Committee on Finance yesterday discussed the budget proposals of APCNGA. A representative of APCNGA informed the Senate’s committee that they were ready to pay 30 percent as advance of the outstanding amount of Rs12 billion on account of GIDC. However, the Ministry of Finance is demanding 60 percent as advance. Therefore, the Senate’s committee on finance proposed that CNG stations should pay 40 percent as advance to the government in order to resolve the issue. The APCNGA accepted the proposal.

However, the Ministry of Finance additional secretary has sought time to discuss the committee’s proposal with Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and Finance Secretary Tariq Bajwa before taking any decision on it. The APCNGA also demanded of the Senate’s committee to ask government to withdraw taxes recently increased in the budget, which would enhance the CNG cost by Rs3 per kg. Giving details, the APCNGA president said that they were paying only 4 percent tax to the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) before the current budget. However, the recent measures introduced by the government have increased the aforesaid taxes to 6.5 percent that would push the CNG prices on higher side. The increase in CNG price would affect the business, as 2200 stations out of 3000 had already been shut down in Punjab due to several issued, he added.

The Senate committee, which held under the chair of Senator Saleem Mandviwalla, has firmed up recommendations for presenting into the Upper House of Parliament which will be forwarded to National Assembly for making it part of budget 2017-18. The Senate’s committee has reviewed the budget proposals of the senators and local industry in detailed. The committee would have to give its budget recommendations within 14 days on the Finance Bill 2017, which was announced by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar in the parliament on May 26. However, the Senate’s recommendations are not binding on the National Assembly in case of Money Bill. The committee is likely to present the budget proposals on the floor of Senate today (Wednesday).