Nocma, Mera assure on fuel availability
By Wezzie Gausi:
National Oil Company of Malawi (Nocma) and Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (Mera) have assured Malawians that there is no need to panic over fuel availability in the country although there is diesel for 14 days.
Nocma told the Parliamentary Cluster on Agriculture and Natural Resources Thursday that it is obtaining letters of credit to get fuel into the country.
Nocma acting Chief Executive Officer Micklas Reuben said some trucks are in transit and that, by next Friday, the country will receive six million litres of petrol.
But Reuben admitted that lack of forex remains a challenge to import the commodity as the amount of forex accessed is less than the amount needed.
“People should not panic with the fuel issue as we agreed with importers to work on open credit. Through this, we have managed to bring fuel into the country without us showing the credits,” Reuben said.
And, in a fuel update statement issued Thursday evening, Mera said fuel stocks are sufficient.
“Mera would like to inform the general public that the current combined fuel stock levels of all active importers are sufficient to meet the country’s demand for the foreseeable future,” it said.
At Parliament Building, cluster co-chairperson Werani Chilenga said it is not a secret that Malawi is in a forex crisis.
“We are just happy to learn that more fuel is in transit, coming to the country. Otherwise, it will be very sad to go back to a stage of sleeping at filling stations looking for fuel.
“It is also our hope that Nocma will be able to square the credit it has with suppliers before the new budget passes, which means the new budget will face no challenges,” Chilenga said.
Meanwhile, Secretary for Energy Alfonso Chikuni has said the ministry will support Nocma in every way possible to have fuel in the country.
“There is nothing for people to panic about as everything is under control. The issue of forex has always been there and other means are being devised to help in fuel importation,” Chikuni said.
As of January 10 2023, Nocma and Petroleum Importers Limited (PIL) were owing fuel suppliers a total sum of $78.3 million of volumes of fuel already uplifted on open credit.
Nocma owed suppliers $61.5 million while PIL owed suppliers a sum of $16.8 million.