ISLAMABAD -  The LPG shortage crisis is on the cards as LPG importers Wednesday warned to suspend import of LPG from next month in case government refused to withdraw regulatory duty and advance tax.

In a meeting with Petroleum Division officials, LPG importers demanded to withdraw regulatory duty on imported LPG and 5.5 per cent advance tax for smooth supply of commodity to meet the local demand. Following directives of Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, a meeting was held in Petroleum Division to address the concerns of importers here. The meeting was attended by high officials of the Ministry of Energy (Petroleum Division), local producers of LPG and its importers.

It is pertinent to mention here that at present there is no advance tax on locally produced LPG but the government had imposed petroleum levy on locally produced LPG. However, the government also imposed regulatory duty on LPG imports equal to petroleum levy on locally produced LPG which had resulted in widening price difference making imports unfeasible.

During the meeting, it was informed that the imposition of regulatory duty on imported LPG had led to killing the spirit of LPG Policy approved by the present government to bridge price difference between local and imported LPG. It was further informed that purpose of imposition of petroleum levy on locally produced LPG was to bridge the price difference between local and imported LPG. But the government had also imposed regulatory duty on imported LPG at the same time which also led to widening gap between the prices of local and imported LPG making the imports unfeasible. Importers demanded to withdraw regulatory duty on imported LPG and 5.5 per cent advance tax for smooth supply of imports to meet the local demand. At present, there is no advance tax on locally produced LPG.

Talking to media, after the meeting along with importers of LPG, chairman All Pakistan LPG Distributors Association Irfan Khokhar said that imports of LPG would be suspended from February 1, 2018, if government does not withdraw regulatory duty and advance tax on LPG imports. He said that there was a price difference of Rs 15 per kg between locally and imported LPG which had created monopoly of local LPG producers. In this way, he said that local producers were minting Rs 30 million daily from the consumers.

He said that local LPG producers had created monopoly on LPG quotas and there were 146 LPG marketing companies but only 30 companies had local LPG quota. He said that Pak Arab Refinery (Parco) was involved in allocating LPG quota to their blue eyed without inviting bids which was in violation of PPRA rules. He further said that during the meeting, officials of petroleum division had assured to conduct inquiry.