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CSOs drag Mera to court over regulations

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Two civil society platforms have dragged the Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (Mera) to court over Liquid Fuel and Gas (Production and Supply) (Amendment) Regulations of 2017 and Standards and Requirements for Construction and Decommissioning of Retails Outlets, regulations that the authority started implementing on September 15 2017.

The organisations are Human Rights Consultative Committee (HRCC) and Forum for National Development.

On Thursday last week, the High Court sitting in Blantyre granted the petitioners permission to apply for a judicial review.

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The order means implementation of the Liquid Fuels and Gas Regulations of 2017 has been suspended until a final determination of the court.

“As a consequence of this grant of permission, we order that the implementation of the Liquid Fuel and Gas (Production and Supply) (amendment) Regulations of 2017 and Standards and Requirements for Construction and Decommissioning of Retails Outlets, dated the 5th of October 2017, be and are hereby suspended, stayed until the final determination of this matter,” reads the court order in part.

HRCC Chairperson, Robert Mkwezalamba, said in an interview that they wrote the authority on January 30 this year to review the regulations as they infringe on the rights of local business operators but got no response from the regulator.

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However, Mera Chief Executive Officer, Collins Magalasi, expressed surprise over the latest development, saying the regulator had already responded to the letter in question.

“We wrote them acknowledging their concerns. We outlined that their views will be considered when reviewing the regulations. We will not be reviewing the regulations now considering the fact that we are still in the process of implementing them. Sensitisation campaigns are still underway. But we are surprised that they have gone to the court when we responded to their letter,” he said.

Magalasi also said his office was yet to be served with the court order.

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