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MP wants motion to outlaw Duty Delivered Unpaid shelved

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Member of Parliament for Chitipa South Welani Chilenga Wednesday asked Parliament to shelve the tabling of a Private Member’s motion which seeks to outlaw the Duty Delivered Unpaid (DDU) method of importing fuel into the country, saying the matter is in court.

The Private Member’s motion, which appeared on the upcoming business of yesterday’s Order Paper, is to be presented to the House on Private Member’s Day today, when Mzimba North lawmaker Yeremiah Chihana is billed to take it to the floor.

“That, having noted with concern that Malawi continues to lose a lot of forex and jobs for Malawians, through the use of two systems of buying and delivering fuel in this country— namely; Duty Delivered and Unpaid largely by foreign-owned companies and Ex-tank by PLC— and considering that the railway line, as a cheaper mode of transporting fuels into Malawi, is not being used, this House resolves that the Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority should review these procurement preferences to maintain the Ex-Tank mode to save a lot of forex and to report to this House through the Minister of Energy,” the proposed motion reads.

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Speaking at the start of Wednesday’s deliberations, Chilenga said it was not for the House to discuss the matter as the issue is in court.

Second Deputy Speaker Aisha Adams said the issue would be referred to the Business Committee of Parliament for guidance.

On Tuesday, the High Court sitting in Lilongwe dismissed an application by National Oil Company of Malawi (Nocma) to remove an injunction by the Fuel Tankers Operators Association stopping it from using the DDU system of procuring fuel from the international market.

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The Fuel Tankers Operators Association challenged the system on the basis that it was not provided for in the laws of the country, thwarts their business opportunities and is costly to the country.

The DDU system gives all responsibilities of shipping fuel from the port to Nocma’s reserves to the exporter while, under the Ex-Tank system, which the fuel tanker operators want, all the responsibilities and costs are borne by the importer, Nocma.

In the end, fuel exporters prefer international transporters as they are largely believed to be cheaper than local ones.

In her ruling Tuesday, High Court Judge Charlotte Malonda said Nocma would not be prejudiced or suffer great injustice should a stay not be granted.

“Granting the suspension will vacate the injunction and, as indicated, the primary principle is that a successful litigant should not be denied the fruits of his litigation. Based on this principle, I find that granting the stay without any cause for doing so will occasion injustice to the claimant.

“Having found no basis for depriving the plaintiff the fruits of his litigation, I refuse to grant the stay and dismiss the application with costs,” Malonda said.

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