Malawi President Joyce Banda on Tuesday laid a foundation stone for the construction of Strategic Fuel Reserves in Mzuzu to address shortage of fuel supply in the country.
The fuel reserves will be constructed in Mzuzu, Lilongwe and Blantyre and are expected to have a total capacity of 60 million litres of fuel.
Speaking at a rally the President addressed in the afternoon, Minister of Energy Ibrahim Matola said the reserves will solve the problem of fuel shortage in the country which requires between 25 and 30 million litres of refined petroleum per month or between 300 and 600 million litres in a year.
Matola said of these, the country imports 97 percent and produces the rest in form of ethanol.
“This year we are celebrating 50 years. Yet, at 50, the country still does not have a strategic fuel reserve. The Energy Policy of 2003 recognises the need to have a strategic fuel reserve and the need to have a national oil company to manage such a reserve. However, eleven years on, we are just beginning to realise that dream. Therefore, today’s function is very momentous,” said the minister.
In her speech, the President said the country has no strategic fuel reserve and only manages to reserve 15 million litres of fuel, of which 1.78 million litres belong to government.
“My administration has tirelessly worked to completely resolve the recurrent fuel supply problem in the country. We put in place financial instruments that have eliminated fuel queues in our filling stations and people no longer sleep in filling stations,” said Banda.
She said the reserves are being constructed as a long-term solution to shortages of fuel supply in the country.