Petroleum Importers Limited (PIL) has angered members of Parliament members of Parliament (MPs) under the Natural Resources and Climate Change Committee for giving 75 percent of business to foreign transporters of fuel at the expense of local transporters.
The committee’s chairperson, Werani Chilenga, who is also Chitipa South MP (People’s Party-PP), on Friday led his team in querying PIL on why it was paying the foreign hauliers “hefty allowances” while giving peanuts to local drivers.
He asked: “Our recent trip to Tanzania revealed a huge discrepancy and disparities between allowances and payments you give foreign and local transporters. We are so angry that we wanted all the foreign drivers out of the business.
“So, can you tell us how you justify this disparity? Are there convincing reasons why you are opting for foreign transporters?”
Mulanje Bale MP Victor Musowa (Democratic Progressive Party-DPP) observed that PIL, a consortium of private oil companies, was doing injustice to Malawians and lacked patriotism and love for fellow Malawians.
He feared the country could be losing foreign reserves through personal allowances to the drivers and rates made to firms hired to transport fuel.
Mzimba South MP Maquenda Chunga (PP) said PIL is depriving government of the resources it requires to grow its economy.
“In other countries, this cannot be allowed. What is the problem with us, Malawians? Are you telling us that there are no competent drivers or transportation firms in the country?” asked Chunga.
PIL officials admitted having given a lion’s share of fuel importation business to foreign firms.
But they pointed out that it is an anomaly they can rectify to accommodate more local transporters.
Ministry of Transport and Public Works chief director Dr. Mary Shawa shared the MPs’ concerns.
Chilenga directed that PIL should allocate 50 percent of its fuel importing business to locals and the other half to foreigners. n