ISLAMABAD                  -              Liquefied Petroleum Gas Industries Association Pakistan (LPGIAP) Chairman Irfan Khokhar Tuesday underlined the need for keeping the commodity supply chain intact amid heightened measures taken by the government to curb the spread of novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

“There are a number of areas in the country where the facility of natural gas does not exist, and the people rely on other fuels like LPG. So, it is important to allow LPG shopkeepers, production plants and transporters (LPG Bowsers) to keep operating and ensure smooth supply of the commodity across the country,” he said while talking to APP.

He requested the government to exempt the LPG industry from the closure, as it would help facilitate consumers in getting regular supply of gas at the rates notified by Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority. The chairman said the consumers were facing difficulties in various localities due to closure of the shops and non-availability of the commodity, expressing concerns that the situation could lead to the LPG ‘black-marketing.’

He appreciated the government for taking all possible steps to fight the COVID-19 threat in an effective way, and agreed that staying at homes and avoiding public contact was the only remedy to prevent the virus spread.

Answering a question, Khokhar said almost 200 LPG marketing companies were operating across the country and providing the gas to consumers at the prescribed rates. Last year, he said the country imported around 224,026 MT LPG and produced 793,952 MT locally, adding the commodity supply remained smooth due to effective policies introduced by the Petroleum Division.

“It is the hallmark of PTI government that it has ended monopoly of the mafia in LPG industry by providing level playing field to all companies with equal distribution of the product.” He said Pakistan Petroleum Limited had started giving equal share of domestically produced LPG to all companies, and hoped that other producers would also follow the government guidelines to create an environment of competition, smashing the cartels. “Its ultimate benefit will go to the end users.” The chairman said the LPG was 65 and 20 per cent cheaper than petroleum products and Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) respectively, adding increased used of the LPG in auto sector would help reduce the oil import bill of the country substantially.