Malawi: Mera Warns of Fuel Shortages Due to Truck Drivers Strike

Officials from the Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (Mera) say the current strike by truck drivers will negatively affect the delivery of fuel in the country.

They are therefore warning of an impending sporadic shortage of fuel in the country.

Mera chief executive officer Henry Kachaje said the strategic fuel reserves remain depleted and it is becoming a challenge to ensure fuel availability when there are logistics problems.

Kachaje told the Parliamentary Committee on Natural Resources and Climate Change on Tuesday in Lilongwe that financing for fuel has also not improved as such it has been a challenge to improve on fuel stocks.

He said the country requires $60 million (about K60 billion) per month to meet the fuel demand but on average $40 million (about K40 billion) is what is accessed per month.

In some months, he said, the country is only able to secure $20 million for fuel imports.

The Mera CEO disclosed that the forex shortage sees some suppliers not willing to release fuel until letters of credit have been issued, effectively affecting fuel availability.

As of Friday, the country had 3.590 million litres of petrol which can cover 4.2 days. Diesel was 6.791 million litres covering 8.1 days.

Kachaje said there is currently 4.736 million litres of petrol in transit which will be able to cover 5.6 days. According to Mera,there is also 3.307 million litres of diesel coming which will cover 4 days.

Meanwhile, the Minister of Agriculture Sam Kawale says the Ministry of Labour is negotiating with truck drivers to curtail their strike to ensure there is no disruption to Affordable Input Program delivery schedule.

He has expressed optimism that the government will prevent escalation of the industrial action.

Truck drivers have started an industrial action in pursuit of improved salaries and reduction of passport renewal fees.

“We are hopeful that an agreement will be reached today so that the fertiliser is transported smoothly,” he said.

The truck drivers strike started on Monday.

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