KP chief minister rejects gas tariff increase

PESHAWAR: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Chief Minister Pervez Khattak rejected Friday the increase in the natural gas tariff by federal government calling it an inimical gesture of the federal government and forced injustice with the province already in the quagmire of under-development and multi-faceted challenges.
Talking to delegations of traders at his office, the chief minister said that the federal budget was good for one province but bad for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
“The federal government should have showered incentives for the revival of sick industrial units in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in order to boost the economy of the province but instead it did not give any space to the province to move forward and there is lack of vision by the centre to put this province towards sustainable economic growth”, a communiqués issued by his office quoted him as having said.
The budget, he said, is in fact pro-Punjab budget; therefore, it is bound to create problems for the business community of our province that will further push us to backwardness.
While rejecting enhancement of Gas Infrastructure Development Cess (GIDC) proposed in the federal finance bill, Khattak said that the increase was not only illegal but an attempt to harm the economy of smaller provinces. 
He said that Khyber Pakhtunkhwa took strong exception to earlier imposition of GIDC @ Rs 13 only while now its rate has been enhanced to Rs 300 which is over 2,000% increase having no match of the injustice even in the past. 
He said that KP is net producer of gas, which is sufficient for the use within the province. There is no contribution or additional development requirement for any infrastructure development and, if there is any, that is covered in the existing GIDC. 
He said industries of our province are already suffering due to war on terror and locational disadvantages. He regretted that the present move will cripple the entire industrial and commercial expansion plans of the present provincial govt. He said that this is also a move to deprive our industries of the local and indigenous resources as well. 
“This move is also tantamount to sabotaging the ongoing industrial development plans in the province,” he asserted. He demanded withdrawal of the proposed GIDC in larger interest of the federation.
The traders community told him that the business community side by side with the provincial government had rejected increase in gas surcharge and tariff and had termed it injustice to the terrorism-hit province. 
The businessmen and industrialists of the province further said that the terror-hit province had been ignored. They also called the federal budget ‘Punjab development budget’, lacking any incentives or relief for the terror-hit business community of the province. The new budget, reflecting a deficit of Rs 14 billion is not a growth oriented. Pervez Khattak said that tax revenue target of Rs 2,810 billion set in the budget was also unrealistic. 
“Like the business community, I also had great expectations from the federal government to give a special incentive to terror and floods-affected people of the province, but it ignored KP in toto,” he said. 
He asked the federal government to withdraw the GIDC increase to cool down the sentiments of anger and concern in folds of business community, masses and governmental circles of KP.

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