Fuel stocks run dry

…fuel supply stocks now one day

…NOCMA owes Camel owe K45bn

Panic has engulfed the government of President Lazarus Chakwera as foreign exchange has dried up causing fuel suppliers to hold their commodity, with sources at the National Oil Company (NOCMA) telling The Investigator Magazine saying only one-day supplies are available.

At the time Tobacco markets are closing, which is Malawi’s foreign exchange earner, President Chakwera and his lieutenants are yet to find the source of financing for fuel, save for some metric tons from the Abu Dhabi government which is yet to arrive in the country.

The Investigator Magazine has been informed by insiders that Camel, one of the largest contract holders is said to be owed K45 billion (US$40million) for already fuel supplied and is said to have slowed down its supplies alongside Orxy which NOCMA officials say it has reduced its supplies.

“Camel is supplying from the old contract of 2021. It is yet to sign the new contract. Orxy has signed but reduced the supply. The other two companies Augusta and Hapco are yet to start supplying on the new contracts. Essentially the country is broke,” said a senior official familiar with the oil procurement.

Lilongwe this week was expected to convene a high-level meeting that would include Finance Minister Sosten Gwengwe, Energy Minister Ibrahim Matola, Secretary to the President and Cabinet Colleen Zamba, NOCMA CEO Clement Kanyama and representatives from Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (MERA) and Reserve Bank of Malawi representatives.

“All the oil reserves are depleted, any small hiccup at the ports we will not even have a single drop. They have no strategy in place, and they have no idea where they will get the forex. They need IMF and reduction in foreign travel by President Lazarus Chakwera which costs anything between US$200,000 to US$400,000 which could make a difference if paid to suppliers,” said a source.

The Investigator Magazine spot checks revealed that most districts in the Northern region have run out of fuel, while most districts across the country are relying on Petroda which has had a consistent supply of fuel.

Chitipa has had no fuel since Saturday, Rumphi run out on Wednesday morning, Mzimba had only Petroda, Nkhatabay was running out in the evening while Mchinji and Kasungu had Petroda supplies for days but others such as Total reported to have received supplies by evening.

Mwanza had PUMA and Petroda supplying but low in stocks.

Cities of Blantyre, Lilongwe and Mzuzu reported having most of the fuel stations had the commodity while in districts such as Mulanje, Balaka, Mangochi, Salima and Nkhotakota some stations were expecting supplies.

Foreign exchange has been very low with RBM recently admitting that the country had six days of cover only which might have been depleted by frequent travels by the government officials who get priority over foreign exchange allocations.

The tobacco market at Chinkhoma in Kasungu is officially closing on 14th July while Limbe has no tobacco, with the product being processed there being JTI and Limbe Leaf companies hauling it there. Lilongwe Auction Floors are expected to close end of July followed by Mzuzu, according to Tobacco officials.

This means the kwacha which has hit K1800 to a US dollar on the parallel market is likely to plummet further as the government has shown to be incapable of generating foreign exchange since it assumed power in 2020.

Energy Minister Matola promised to revert as he had just arrived from China, while officials from NOCMA and MERA did not respond to our questions sent to their official emails on Tuesday.

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