Wholly government-owned National Oil Company of Malawi (Nocma) has said it has facilitated importation of about 81.2 million litres of fuel for storage since it started receiving fuel into its strategic fuel reserves in May last year.
Nocma said this is proof that the reserves, which were belt to cushion the country from any possible fuel scarcity, are effective and efficient.
Recent figures from Nocma also show that, as of last Friday, combined fuel stock in the three main reserves of Blantyre, Lilongwe and Mzuzu stood at 27 million litres.
Media reports show that, as of early December, the reserves had about 44.1 million litres in stock, of which 35 million litres was diesel while the remaining 9.1 million litres was petrol.
Nocma spokesperson, Telephorus Chigwenembe, said the reserves helped prevent a fuel dry-out in January as other importers had deficits in their stocks.
“If it were not for the strategic fuel reserves, then the availability of fuel in the country in January this year would have been a big challenge,” Chigwenembe said.
He said, following the commissioning, Nocma has continued to bring fuel to the depots, with some being offloaded into the tanks and some sent to the market.
The strategic fuel reserves have also opened up the fuel business to other players in line with Nocma’s mandate to promote competition in the oil industry in Malawi, according to Chigwenembe.
President Peter Mutharika commissioned the fuel reserves late last year, when he said time had come for the government to take full control of fuel management and imports into the country to achieve a win-win situation.
The reserves have a combined storage capacity of 60 million litres, representing two months of fuel cover for the country at current estimated daily consumption levels.
The reserves were constructed with a loan from Exim Bank of India after the 2010 to 2012 fuel crisis.