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Petroleum Importers Limited secures $13 million for fuel importation

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MSIMUKO—We are doing everything possible

As the country continues to grapple with fuel scarcity, a private consortium of fuel importers, Petroleum Importers Limited (PIL), has secured $13 million from local commercial banks for importation of the commodity.

Since last month, the country has been grappling with fuel shortages at the back of the scarcity of foreign exchange.

Speaking in an exclusive interview Tuesday, PIL General Manager Martin Msimuko said with the money, the consortium has already ordered the first chunk of 8 million litres of the commodity which has already started arriving in the country.

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He added that the firm, however, has a shortfall of $9 million to import enough fuel for the whole month which is still soliciting from other commercial banks and the Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM).

“We are working around the clock to find facilities and apart from local banks, we are also talking with international banks so that we should have the fuel situation resolved in the shortest possible time,” he said.

Strategic fuel regulations of 2018 give mandate to PIL to import 50 percent of fuel for four retailers Petroda, Puma, Total and Vivo.

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Monthly, the consortium brings into the country between 20 million to 22 million litres of fuel, which cost between $20 million to $22 million, bringing the total requirement annually to $240 million.

Figures indicate that since January this year, PIL has been importing 56 percent of fuel for its four retailers.

Malawi has been grappling with foreign exchange shortages at the back of a lean export base racing against a huge and unquenched thirst for imports.

Addressing the nation last week during the opening of the investment summit in Lilongwe, President Lazarus Chakwera admitted that the country is in a fuel crisis due to scarcity of foreign exchange.

Chakwera said he understands that the shortage of fuel is adversely affecting manufacturing, businesses, work and domestic life, but gave assurance that the government will make sure that the product is available in the short term, while they work on the long term forex issues that are at the root of the problem.

He claimed that the government has already secured $28 million from local banks for the purpose, and it is in pursuit of another $50 million facility for the same adding that he has further instructed RBM to prioritise fuel procurement in the allocation of forex.

A similar situation occurred in Malawi between 2011 and 2012 when the country could not afford to import fuel due to shortage of foreign exchange.

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