Petroleum Importers Limited (PIL) has assured Malawians of sustained fuel supply despite the shortage of forex and the ongoing war in Ukraine.
Speaking on the sidelines of a media workshop in Zomba recently, PIL general manager Martin Msimuko said the consortium of oil marketing companies has have a lot of fuel in transit.
He said: “At PIL, we understand the value of our business towards the growth of our economy hence we strive to keep the country running.
“Therefore, despite the global and local challenges being experienced, we are doing our best to sustain fuel reserves.”
While acknowledging financial and logistical challenges as main factors contributing to fuel inadequacy, Msimuko said going forward, it would be ideal to use rail when importing fuel to ensure high volumes and reduced pump prices.
However, he was sceptical of the National Oil Company of Malawi (Nocma) proposal to start importing 90 percent of fuel and leaving 10 percent to other private sector players.
“The 90/10 proposal is risky to the country’s fuel industry, we cannot have one player in the business. The development might cause total scarcity of fuel in the country,” he said.
Nocma, which currently imports 50 percent of the country’s fuel, is pushing to get a near monopoly, effectively edging private sector PIL which at the moment hauls in the other half.
During a media engagement in Lilongwe recently, Nocma deputy chief executive officer Hellen Buluma argued that fuel is a strategic commodity with serious implications to the economy and should, therefore, not be left to the private sector.
She said: “Fuel is a strategic commodity which affects both the economy and national security. This is why we want to control how our product comes into the country.