BODY FORMED TO ENSURE ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION IN ISLAMABAD, IHC INFORMED
Malik Asad 14 Jun, 2020
ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of Climate Change on Saturday informed Islamabad High Court (IHC) that a commission for observance of laws related to the protection of environment has been notified.
After this, the IHC reserved order on a petition seeking contempt proceedings against the city managers and the environment ministry’s top officials for defying a verdict.
The IHC last week had summoned the secretaries of interior and climate change, the chairman of the Capital Development Authority (CDA) and the director general Pakistan Environment Protection Agency (Pak-Epa) on the petition seeking contempt proceedings against them for not implementing orders related to unauthorised construction in Banigala and E-11.
In 2018, while accepting identical petitions against the deterioration of Banigala’s environment due to the proliferation of unregulated construction and high-rise buildings in E-11, the IHC had issued directions to constitute a commission for implementing the CDA bylaws related to environment protection.
Court reserves judgement on contempt plea against city managers
The court had declared illegal “construction of houses or buildings of any nature whether in the Golra Revenue Estate [E-11] or the area comprising Banigala which have been or are intended to be constructed in violation of the master plan, the ordinance of 1960, the Zoning Regulations 1992, the ordinance of 1966 and the Wildlife Ordinance of 1979.”
The court had set a six-month deadline to implement the orders. However, when the court took up the contempt petition against the respondents, none of them was present in the courtroom.
The climate change ministry informed the IHC that the commission had been notified as per the court’s direction.
IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah remarked that due to negligence of the city managers, the federal capital lacks basic necessities.
He said the successive heads of the CDA and the Islamabad capital administration failed to stop violation of the master plan.
Last week, Justice Minallah recalled that through the 2018 order “the federal government was directed to notify Dr Pervaiz Hassan, senior advocate Supreme Court, as the implementation commission. The commission constituted by the court included experts and representatives from the relevant fields. The elected representatives were also part of the commission, including Minster for Planning Asad Umer.”
Justice Minallah observed that “the reluctance on part of the CDA and the federal government to implement the commission’s report notified by Dr Hassan needs to be explained. The officials who will appear on the next date will also explain the modes of accountability for acts or omissions, which contribute towards environmental degradation and loss of biodiversity and ecosystem.”
In the previous order, the IHC said: “Chief commissioner is directed to aid and assist the authority in ensuring that no building or house is constructed in any protected area of Islamabad.”
The bench appointed Dr Hassan as the head of the committee for the implementation of the commission’s recommendations.
The court verdict also makes it mandatory for buildings seeking regularisation in the aforementioned areas to have a certificate from the federal government supported by the environmental commission.
Published in Dawn, June 14th, 2020
RS 450 BILLION PETROLEUM LEVY ESTIMATED
Wasim Iqbal 13 Jun, 2020
ISLAMABAD: Reliance on petroleum levy (PL) has been proposed to be raised by 73 percent in budget 2020-21 – from Rs 260 billion in the revised estimates of 2019-20 to Rs 450 billion next year to fetch additional revenue of Rs190 billion.
The projected target for next year is close to IMF’s projection of Rs 489 billion PL collection in financial year 2020-21 in its Rapid Financing Instrument documents uploaded on its website.
The government budgeted Rs216.025 billion through PL in financial year 2019-20 but revised estimates indicate total collections of Rs260 billion – 20 percent higher than budgeted.
The additional revenue of Rs190 billion will help the center because this is not part of the Federal Divisible Pool (FDP) that has to be shared with the provinces as per the National Finance Commission (NFC) formula.
The PL will be kept at Rs30 per litre on all petroleum products, the maximum limit allowed under the Finance Bill 2018, for the entire financial year 2020-21. General Sales Tax, part of the FDP, on petroleum products will be kept at 17 percent.
For petroleum levy on LPG, the government has budgeted Rs 5.5 billion for financial year 2020-21 against Rs3.6 billion revised target of current financial year.
The budget for 2020-21 envisages Rs17 billion under discount retained on local crude prices. For the current financial year, the target was Rs16 billion.
The budgeted amount for royalty on crude oil is Rs 23 billion for next financial year against the revised estimates of Rs 25 billion for the outgoing year with revised estimates of Rs 24.6 billion.
The budget envisages Rs8 billion on account of windfall levy on crude oil against Rs7 billion for the current financial year 2019-20.
Taxes on oil and gas companies are budgeted to generate Rs 582 billion in 2020-21 against Rs 359 billion budgeted for 2019-20 which was revised upward to Rs386 billion.
The government has budgeted Rs 15 billion under gas infrastructure development cess (GIDC) for 2020-21 against the budgeted target of Rs 30 billion in 2019-20 revised down to 11 billion due to pending case in Supreme Court of Pakistan. The government had announced an amnesty scheme for fertiliser, textile and CNG industries by waiving 50 percent of Rs450 billion outstanding GIDC.
The government has budgeted Rs53.8 billion in royalty on natural gas from gas consumers in the next financial year against a revised target of Rs54 billion in the current financial year 2019-20.
Gas development surcharge – the difference between prescribed and sale price of gas that goes to provinces – is expected to bring Rs10 billion next year, the same amount as was budgeted in the current year.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2020
$188M ACCORD REACHED WITH WORLD BANK FOR ENVIRONMENT PROTECTION
The Newspaper’s Staff Reporter Updated 02 Jun, 2020
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Monday signed a $188 million agreement with the World Bank for environmental protection through forest regeneration and biodiversity conservation programmes and boosting the country’s climate-resilience through enhanced disaster risk management.
Under the agreement, the World Bank would join hands with Pakistan and provide funding and technical support for disaster resilience and ecosystem restoration initiatives through more reliable and timely weather forecasting. It will also help in improved disaster risk management services as well as overall environmental sustainability and achieving green growth targets of the country.
Speaking at a signing ceremony of the ‘Pakistan Hydromet and Ecosystem Restoration Services Project’ agreement, Adviser to the Prime Minister for Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam said the project had been agreed between the government and the World Bank, with an objective to strengthen delivery of reliable and timely climate change and hydro-meteorological services. “It will enhance community resilience to shocks, including socio-economic disruptions caused to communities by climate risks, health emergencies, food security and natural disasters.”
The adviser said: “This is the first time that Pakistan has succeeded to win hefty funding of $188m for an ambitious five-year project that aims to address environmental degradation, deforestation, climate change-caused disaster risks in the country. We will use nature-based solutions such as increasing forest cover, strengthening hydro-meteorological forecasting for effective delivery of disaster risk management services.”
Talking about the Green Economic Stimulus, Mr Aslam said that it supported the objectives of the ‘10 Billion Tree Tsunami Afforestation Project’. It is aimed at enhancing plantations, setting up of nurseries, natural forests, and promotion of honey, fruits and olive plantations in Pakistan. Under the package, a ‘Green Nigehbaan’ initiative would also be launched to provide job opportunities to youths and daily-wagers in the first phase by making them a part of the plantation campaign.
He said the Green Economic Stimulus also promotes the Clean and Green Pakistan Movement, which adopts a holistic approach. It aims at reducing and alleviating pollution of air, ground and water.
Published in Dawn, June 2nd, 2020