Government works on fuel shortage

Deploys Malawi Defence Force to facilitate smooth fuel importation, supply

Gospel Kazako

Government has deployed Malawi Defence Force (MDF) soldiers to assist in the importation and distribution of fuel in the country amid the ongoing truck drivers’ strike.

The strike, which started on Monday this week, was joined by the truck owners on Wednesday, causing some service stations to run out of fuel.

Information Minister Gospel Kazako told journalists at a press briefing in Lilongwe yesterday that fuel was a strategic commodity and the government was doing its best to ensure that there was continuous supply.


He warned the demonstrating drivers not to block roads because it is against the law.

“As I speak now, because this is an issue very important, the army [Malawi Defence Force] has been called to duty to make sure that they create a clear passage for the fuel,” he said

MDF issued a statement Thursday that, from today, it will engage its personnel in the distribution of fuel.


“Armed fuel escort will be provided to fuel tankers from the country’s borders to National Oil Company of Malawi and distribution to commercial gas stations will be done by military drivers,” reads part of the statement signed by MDF acting Public Information Officer Major Emmanuel Kelvin Mlelemba.

Mlelemba said this is in line with one of the constitutional roles of providing “technical expertise and resources” to assist civilian authorities in maintenance of essential services in times of emergency.

Kazako said fuel is a very strategic commodity which borders on national security.

He added that it was surprising that there was “panic buying” of fuel, yet the country had millions litres of fuel in stock that can last for 30 days.

Government said there are people who are holding fuel and that its officials ar going around to find out because fuel business is regulated and if any person is found hoarding the commodity, they risk having their licence revoked.

Fears of fuel stock-out continued to manifest Thursday as most service stations not selling the commodity in some parts of the country.

The Daily Times’ visits to some areas in Blantyre found Total, Energem and Puma service stations – found along the Chiperembere Highway – with cons, indicating that either fuel ran out or was merely not being sold.

In Lilongwe, motorists and motorcyclists (kabaza operators) were Thursday scrambling for fuel, mostly petrol, in some few service stations following shortage of the commodity due to the ongoing strike by truck owners and drivers.

One of the motorists, David Phiri, told The Daily Times Thursday that he had been in the queue for about four hours.

“I have not managed to refuel for all the hours that I have been here due to the situation,” Phiri said.

Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority spokesperson Fitina Khonje said the country had enough fuel but the challenge is to transport the commodity due to the drivers’ protest.

She said the panic-buying is also contributing to the shortage of fuel at retail outlets because people are buying more than what they normally need.

Khonje further explained that MDF soldiers were part of the multiple stakeholders that the regulatory body is working with to ensure there is enough fuel in the country.

The truck drivers have been on strike since Monday but the government has emphasised that it has addressed their grievances.

Documents that Times has in possession show that international truck drivers passport fee has been reduced from K120,000 to K60,000 and that they should also be getting free Covid certificates instead of paying K30,000.

Transporters Association of Malawi executive members, however, Thursday said they are not going to allow their trucks to go back to the road until the government addresses their demands too.

Facebook Notice for EU! You need to login to view and post FB Comments!
Show More

Related Articles

Back to top button

Adblock Detected

Please consider supporting us by disabling your ad blocker