QUETTA: Collector Appraisement Quetta Agha Saeed Pathan has forwarded the recommendations of Quetta Chamber of Commerce and Industry (QCCI) seeking permission for import of LPG via Chaman from Turkmenistan (via Afghanistan) in the wake of increasing demand for LPG in Pakistan.

In his letter to Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), Agha Saeed Pathan mentioned there is no ban on import of LPG via land route and LPG is regularly imported at Taftan from Iran. However, there are certain operational issues, which require Board’s attention:

a) There is no decanting station at Chaman, however, the QCCI in its letter has proposed that Pakistani bowsers would go to Tor Ghundi (approx. 800 km away from Chaman) in Afghanistan at Afghan-Turkmen border for decanting;

b) Currently, a single gate is used for all kind of cross-border trade and the gate at times gets choked due to heavy flow of cargo traffic; and

c) Because of the already prevalent queue of cargo for clearances, the LPG bowsers coming to main terminal would likely to be a security & health hazard.

Pakistani bowsers using the decanting facility in Afghanistan appear to have no legal bar but may require framing of some SOPs at the Collectorate’s level. However, the issues can be addressed by using separate gate / yard for clearance of these LPG bowsers.

There is a gate around 500 yards away from the current gate, which can be operationalized for the purpose, subject to approval / concurrence of the stakeholders like Provincial government, FC and NLC.

Furthermore, the bowsers entering through the newly operational gate may park at category A land in the north of existing terminal subject to necessary approval of the stakeholders as well as fulfillment of IPO requirements. However, this area is not notified as Custom Station under Section 9, 10 of Customs Act, 1969 for import of LPG via Chaman.

QCCI noted the entire world is facing shortage of energy. The industry of Pakistan is in crisis due to lack of energy and businessmen are unable to keep up with the country’s rising demand during the past few decades. Pakistan is now reliant on imported energy resources like gas and oil as our oil and gas reservoirs have depleted rapidly during last decades.

Therefore, we become an energy insecure country. The Government of Pakistan also issued energy crises alert to domestic and commercial users that we might face an extremely challenging and terrible winter. The Russia-Ukraine war further creates energy shortage all over the world.

The Oil is becoming more costly due to rising global oil prices and the severe devaluation of the Pakistani rupee, which is putting pressure on our foreign exchange reserves. According to reports, the cost of oil imports surged from US$8.69 billion to US$17.03 billion, a 95.9% rise. Similarly, between the year 2022, imports of LPG increased by 82.90 % in value, while imports of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) increased by 39.86%.

In the scenario of above noted energy crises in country, we need to sort out new venues to import relatively cheaper LPG. So, we suggest to allow import of Turkmenistan LPG via land route of Chaman border connected with Afghanistan as similar as LPG has already been importing via Land route of Taftan.