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K80 billion needed to normalize fuel supply

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Petroleum Importers Limited (PIL) has said the country needs at least $80 million (about K80 billion) to normalize fuel supply.

PIL general manager Martin Msimuko told a joint Parliamentary Committee on Trade, Transport and Natural Resources yesterday that shortage of forex and the recent devaluation of the local currency are among key factors affecting fuel supply in the country.

“Shortage of diesel is expected to continue as the product is on high demand world over,” Msimuko said.

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On her part, National Oil Company of Malawi (Nocma) deputy chief executive officer Helen Buluma told the committee that her organisation is getting fuel from suppliers on open credit.

She said 300 trucks carrying 10.8 million litres of fuel are on their way into the country.

“The challenges of fuel in the country date back to 2020 as there have been court orders to stop the procurement of fuel importation contracts,” Buluma said, adding that forex shortage is also worsening the situation.

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She told the committee that she was aware of the threat of a strike by members of the professional drivers’ union – which could further impair transportation of fuel.

She however said the drivers are demanding salary increase and not because of fuel transportation contracts.

She further said Nocma will get loans from Afrexim and Badea for fuel purchase.

Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (Mera) Chief Executive Officer Henry Kachaje attributed the scarcity of diesel to its replacement for electricity in many organisations due to power outages.

He said Malawi needs $600 million every year for fuel importation.

PIL, Nocma, Petroda and Mount Meru are some of the bodies that appeared before the committee yesterday.

Chairperson of the joint committee, Werani Chilenga, said the meeting was organised to discuss the fuel challenges that have affected the country and find way forward.

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