GIDC case: IP project to cost Rs405b, SC told

February 19, 2020

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court was Tuesday informed that the Iran-Pakistan Pipeline Project would approximately cost Rs405 billion.A three-member bench of the apex court, headed by Justice Mushir...

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ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court was Tuesday informed that the Iran-Pakistan (IP) Pipeline Project would approximately cost Rs405 billion.

A three-member bench of the apex court, headed by Justice Mushir Alam, heard the case of Gas Infrastructure Development Cess (GIDC).

Justice Mansoor Ali Shah asked about the total cost of project to which additional secretary finance informed the court that Rs33 billion had been spent on the project so far while approximately Rs405 billion would be spent.

He further informed the court that initially Pakistan will spend around Rs20 billion on the North-South Project.

Justice Mushir observed that if all the projects were completed well on time then it could be completed within the given budget.

“This is the tax amount and the project will cost double if it was delayed,” he remarked.

Justice Faisal Arab said North-South was a national project at which Attorney General Anwar Mansoor Khan said a deal was finalized with a Russian company for the project but restrictions were imposed on it and now talks were in progress with another company.

Referring to Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India Pipeline Project (TAPI), the attorney general informed the court that the project would be completed in 2023 adding that it was delayed due to the volatile situation in Afghanistan.

“But now even the Taliban have consented to the said project in its website,” the AG added.

Justice Mansoor observed that the court was looking forward to the practical measures.

It is pertinent to mention that the court had the other day asked the federal government to explain the existing state of the three projects for which GIDC fee was originally levied as also explain as to why it was being shown as “tax revenue” in the government accounts.

The court also asked if any of the funds had ever been used towards the purpose for which they were supposedly collected.

The court had issued these directives after expressing annoyance over the non-cooperative attitude of the Finance Division and other institutions.

On Tuesday, Justice Mushir Alam told the attorney general that not a single institution was assisting the court adding that the statement of every official differed with the other.

The judge noted that the Inter State Gas had complained that they were not issued funds, while the Finance Department says funds would be released upon demand.

Justice Mansoor Ali Shah observed that it seemed the projects would not be completed. The attorney general, however, said that if the court gave some time, he would personally look into all the matters.

Meanwhile, the court adjourned the hearing for today (Wednesday).



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