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Mera plays down fuel scarcity scare

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By Chimwemwe Mangazi:

Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (Mera) has played down fears that the country could face fuel shortage in coming weeks due to the impact of Cyclone Idai, which has ravaged Beira Port in Mozambique.

BBC Monday reported that the road linking Beira to the rest of the country has been damaged, but air links have resumed.

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Governor for Sofala Province, which includes Beira, Alberto Mondlane, told BBC on Sunday that “almost everything has been affected by the calamity”.

A message circulating on social media platforms says: “There could be fuel shortage this coming week for most provinces of central Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi and DRC [the Democratic Republic of Congo] as the road to Beira has been destroyed by the furious cyclone and two bridges along Chimoio Beira road also destroyed. Use fuel sparingly.”

In a statement which Mera Chief Executive Officer, Collins Magalasi, has signed, the authorities indicate that Malawi has sufficient internal fuel stocks and has strategies to ensure consistent supply.

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“Malawi imports its fuel from Beira and Nacala ports in Mozambique and Dar-es-Salaam Port in Tanzania. Out of these supply routes, it is only the Beira route that has been affected by Cyclone Idai. Malawi has, therefore, increased import volumes through Nacala and Dar-es- Salaam and has also activated the Harare route to ensure continued seamless supply of fuel in Malawi,” the statement reads in part.

Inside sources at National Oil Company of Malawi indicated that there are 22 million litres of fuel in the strategic reserves, which could sustain supply for three weeks.

Fuel scarcity crippled Malawi’s economy in 2012.

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