The Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (Mera) has been given until next Wednesday to be in control, including dealing with filling stations allegedly worsening the fuel shortage through hoarding.
Information and Civic Education Minister Patricia Kaliati claimed at a news conference in MalawiÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s capital, Lilongwe, on Wednesday that most officials in parastatals are working to frustrate governmentÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s agenda for political reasons. She asked the officers “to resign and join politics full-time.”
Kaliati mentioned three service stations in Lilongwe and one in MalawiÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s commercial city, Blantyre, as among those topping the list of “selling fuel at night”.
Said Kaliati: “They tell Malawians there is no fuel or they are keeping some for their customers. We have asked Mera to report by next week what they are doing about such filling stations.”
Kaliati argued that some filling stations claim to be keeping the fuel for essential services such as police and hospitals yet ambulances are failing to access the commodity. She asked Malawians to report all malpractices to ensure availability of fuel to the public.
But the Consumers Association of Malawi (Cama) has said the order for Mera to act on stations is misplaced as its role of regulating the energy sector cannot really affect the selling points. Cama said such orders indicate lack of understanding on fuel-trading business procedures.
Mera chief executive officer Allexon Chiwaya did not answer his mobile phone and attendants at the mentioned filling stations in Lilongwe claimed their bosses were not around to react to the allegations.
Cama executive director John Kapito said the matter of hoarding fuel should be pursued with importers who distribute to suppliers such as Puma Energy, Total and Engen who know how much is delivered at each station.
“Mera is not involved in distribution. If there is a gap, let them be addressed appropriately. If the allegations are true, let them be acted upon so that the consumer benefits by having adequate supplies,” said Kapito.