Since the last week of August, rumours have been circulating in the market that the govt is set to bail out big industrial defaulters by waiving 50% off their outstanding bills. If the rumours are true it would mean that the govt would grand Rs208 billion in favour of a handful of industrialists.
Director General gas in a meeting of the sub-committee of Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has revealed that he government is in the process of promulgating a presidential ordinance for the tax waiver. The amount that the PTI government is going to waive in favour of the industrialists, mainly Karachi-based, is close to the total loans written off from 1971 to 2009. Commercial banks wrote off Rs256 billion between 1971 and 2009, according to the details submitted in the Supreme Court a few years ago. Depending on the settlement date, the amount may exceed Rs208 billion.
Only half a dozen fertiliser companies will be given a benefit of Rs69 billion, which they have recovered from the poor farmers but have refused to deposit in the national kitty. The total outstanding amount against them was Rs138 billion as of the end of December. Fertiliser firms are still recovering the GIDC from the farmers.
There is a lot of hue and cry about this unjust treatment which, to put it this way, means that the law abiding companies who have already discharged their legal obligation by complying and submitting the charge will be the ones at a disadvantage here.