By Staff Reporter
National Oil Company of Malawi (Nocma) says it has secured $57 million (about K46.5 billion) from the Trade Development Bank fuel revolving fund facility to support fuel imports.
In an interview on Tuesday, Nocma deputy chief executive officer Hellen Buluma said they anticipate to import 60 million litres of fuel this month. She said this when Minister of Energy Ibrahim Matola visited Nocma’s strategic fuel reserves at Matindi in Blantyre.
Said Buluma: “For this month of May our plan is to import 60 million litres of fuel and that is a lot.“It will be our first time to bring those volumes and we are bringing those volumes because we are complementing or supporting oil marketing companies.”
Since late last year, the country has been facing fuel shortages due to forex shortage, a situation that has been compounded further by the Russia and Ukraine war.
When asked on the current stocks that the country has, Buluma said they are not obliged to disclose existing stocks as fuel is a strategic commodity, but gave an assurance that there is enough to cushion the country.
She said despite effects of the Russia and Ukraine war as well as forex shortages, Nocma has ensured there is steady fuel supply and the Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) has been helpful in its quest.
According to Buluma, the country requires 1.7 million litres of both petrol and diesel per day. She said the anticipated 60 million litres to be imported will ensure Malawians have no stockouts in coming months.
In a separate interview, Matola said his ministry is keen on ensuring that Nocma and the energy sector in general are supported amid the forex shortages. “We have put in place mechanisms to ensure that we are not depending on one facility in terms of forex access. We anticipated that people would be scrambling for forex in the global village that we are, but we still are doing our best so Malawians should be assured,” he said.
Matola further hailed Nocma’s leadership for ensuring steady fuel supply despite facing numerous challenges both on forex and at ports where they load.
The minister said he will work with the State-owned institution to ensure that it serves the public better.
Following forex scarcity in the country, fuel has been scarce at times as Nocma and Petroleum Importers Limited, which is a consortium of oil marketing companies, have been importing less fuel at times.
The forex scarcity has also affected other sectors of the economy, leading to, among others, less availability of essential drugs in public hospitals and other basic commodities