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Govt faulted on fuel import shift

The Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (MCCCI) has faulted government for overlooking suggestions made by other key stakeholders in its decision to shift the fuel importation role from private consortium, Petroleum Importers Limited (PIL), to government-owned National Oil Company (Nocma).

The Chamber has said this after President Peter Mutharika approved a set of reforms in the energy sector, including the shift in fuel importing role to Nocma.

Mutharika made the decision against recommendations from the Parliamentary Committee on Natural Resources, Environment, Energy and Climate Change which supported the maintenance of a private sector entity for bulk importation of petroleum into the country.

In an emailed response, MCCCI president Newton Kambala said government did not consider the suggestions made by other players in the sector.

He said the Chamber advised government against implementing the shift as it felt that the move would cripple the sector entirely if not handled well.

“Our impression is that we may not know why government is doing this. We just hope that their intentions will benefit the economy which is on a sick bed as you may know.

“It is encouraging to note that stakeholders have decided to courageously continue engaging government on issues affecting the economy. It is up to government to carefully consider advice from the stakeholders in the economy before most investors completely disinvest,” said Kambala.

A study recently conducted by energy regulator Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority and other stakeholders recommended that Malawi needed to introduce a Bulk Procurement System as a means of cutting costs when importing fuel.

Through the system, the country would be importing fuel in bulk, which would give room for negotiated prices for the commodity.

Among other advantages, the new system will help Malawi to get better fuel prices on the international market.

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