Forex woes to impact on fuel

..NOCMA claims needs K500 billion

..K20 billion debt choke private importers

The secretive National Oil Company (NOCMA) says it needs at least K500 billion (US$460 million) to import fuel for the next 12 months.

Motorists should brace for tough times as the Petroluem Importers Limited has said it is failing to service a K20 billion debt due to foreign exchange shortages.

Fuel importers have been appearing before Parliaments Natural Resources Committee where they made the statements that means possible Fuel supply interruptions.

NOCMA a bedrock of political financing scandals through Fuel supply deals told the committee it needs at least 460 million litres of fuel.  This is a new figure as usually Malawi has been said to consume 33 million litres a month.

Director of Operations at the agency  Micklas Reuben did not indicate what has happened for the country to require 100 million of litres more of fuel. None of the MPs noted the anomaly from last years figures.

Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (Mera) CEO Henry kachaje bemoaned the loss of value of kwacha to the US dollar saying coupled with foreign exchange shortages fuel supply will be a challenge.

Kachaje says he is negotiating with suppliers to see if they can accept the unstable Malawi kwacha.

Already one of the private suppliers MERU is leaving Malawi citing foreign exchange challenges as the reason. Ironically it is relocating to Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe is has been facing economic crisis but of late things are improving whilst Malawis economic situation remains dire.

Fuel and foreign exchange shortages have now become a permanent feature under President Lazarus Chakwera who has yet to launch any credible economic recovery plan.

Petroleum Importers Limited (PIL)s  Martin Msimuko told the committee that PIL is owing fuel suppliers K20 billion. (US$18m).

NOCMA and PIL both import 50 percent of fuel.

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