Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (Mera) has threatened to revoke licences for fuel station operators who fail to comply with quality standards and regulations.
Mera chief executive officer Collins Magalasi said in an interview on the sidelines of a sensitisation meeting with fuel retailers in Blantyre on Wednesday that failure to comply with standards could cost the country million of dollars.
“In the past year, we have been conducting inspections on the facilities that are selling liquid fuel and gas in the country. We found quite a number of areas that need improvement.
“One among many issues we found is that most companies are not blending fuel, which is contrary to our requirements. In petrol, 80 percent has to be petrol and 20 percent of it should be ethanol,” he said.
Figures provided by Mera indicate that out of 182 samples collected from 101 fuel stations during the inspection, 35 percent were found not blended with ethanol.
“To put things into perspective, Malawi uses $152 million [K112 billion] in a year on fuel imports. We would, therefore, be losing a lot of fuel if we do not comply with this basic regulation and this is not economical for the country.
“We want, through this meeting, to get fresh commitment from the retailers on what they are supposed to do to provide safe and right fuels on the market,” he said.
One franchise dealer, Spencer Dzinyemba, said the meeting presented a rare opportunity for the dealers to know and stay the course on regulations in the energy sector.
He admitted that some dealers are non-committal on standards and regulations, but said they are committed to improving for the better.
Said Dzinyemba: “We are aware that it is a requirement that we blend our fuel for economic purposes. However, some seem not to comply with this.
“But after learning and refreshing our minds on the benefits, expectations are that we will do our best to be in line with this and other stipulated regulations.”