POL road levy may replace toll tax

ISLAMABAD - The government is considering slapping the already hard-pressed consumers of the petroleum products (POL) with yet another tax with the name of road levy, which is likely to raise the prices up to Rs2.50/litre.
According to well-placed sources, the new levy on petrol and diesel would replace the existing toll collections at the national highways and motorways. At present, Rs10/litre petroleum levy (PL) is being collected on petrol and Rs8/litre on diesel. In addition, 17 percent General Sales Tax (GST) is being charged to the petroleum consumers, besides around Rs2.50/litre freight margin.
"The idea is to include the toll price into the actual price of any of the petroleum product that a transportation vehicle would consume to run on the national highways and motorways," an official told The Nation on condition of anonymity. "Either way, toll tax or road levy on the petroleum price has to be paid by the motorist," he added. "It would not be fair to call it a new tax," he claimed.
The sources confirmed that the ministry of inter-provincial coordination is working on a proposal to end the collection of toll tax on vehicles and impose Rs1 to Rs2.50/litre new tax on petrol and diesel. The sources also said that the amount to be collected on account of this new tax would be given to the provinces to initiate new development work. And, the final approval of Council of Common Interest (CCI) would be sought before the imposition of road tax, they added.
At present, private contractors are engaged in the collection of toll tax under a so-called toll tax system. The toll tax is being charged at toll plazas from all private vehicles over use of national highways that are situated in all four provinces.
It is largely believed that the collected heavy amount on account of toll tax is not utilised in public welfare and development projects. Most often the contractor receives major chunk of the collected toll tax. So this move would help the provinces to undertake more welfare and development work.
Sources in the ministry of petroleum and natural resources said that the ministry of finance could annually earn heavy revenue worth above Rs20 billion if the proposal of inter-provincial coordination ministry is approved. The sources also told this scribe that the ministry would soon dispatch this proposal to the provinces for consultation. And, after getting the nod of provinces, the ministry would float this proposal in CCI meeting for final approval.

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