LAHORE (INP) Private-run liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) marketing companies of Pakistan are eyeing to import 6,600 metric tonnes (mt) LPG this month for catering to higher seasonal demand with the advent of the winter season, a spokesman for the LPG Association of Pakistan (LPGAP) said. The similar volume was imported in October, as well, the spokesman said. Imports have been and are being made in order to ensure the availability of affordable LPG throughout Pakistan during the winter season, when demand is typically higher, he added. Sufficient imports will help maintain the stability in retail prices. LPGAP said that there is adequate availability of the product in the market and added that apart from local production of about 1200 metric tons per day, some 4,300 metric tons of imported LPG is available at Port Qasim, Karachi. Had the Honourable Lahore High Court not suspended the 2011 LPG policy recently, the situation today would have been dire and consumers would have suffered from high retail prices and acute product shortages, the spokesman said and added suspension of certain clauses of the policy led to an immediate reduction in retail prices which benefited consumers nationwide. He said that imposition of the currently-suspended petroleum development levy on locally-produced LPG would have increased the prices by at least 25 per cent or by Rs20 per kilogram. Prices of locally produced LPG are already linked with Saudi Arabian export prices, and the PDL would have made local production more expensive than imports, said the spokesman. It may be pointed out that the suspended 2011 policy granted monopoly rights to the public sector over all new LPG production, imposed a PDL on local producers to make a private sector LPG marketing company recently acquired by Sui Southern Gas Company Limited viable, and forced all LPG marketing companies to import at least 20 per cent of their total supplies from LPG brokers. The Ministry of Petroleum has drafted a money bill, which is currently pending in the parliament, allowing the government to circumvent legal challenges and impose PDL on locally-produced LPG. On ministrys claims that imposition of PDL will result in price reduction, the LPGAP spokesman said this was contrary to common sense. He questioned that how prices could decrease when LPG producers are forced by law to increase their base price.