President Bingu Mutharika has appointed new members of the board of directors for the Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (Mera) but Minister of Natural Resources, Energy and Environment, Goodall Gondwe sought to downplay that he board will approve a price hike for fuel.
The new MERA board chairperson is Lyton Zinyemba, appointed for a a tenure of three years.
The board members include Peter Zembani former CEO of Escom, private practice lawyer Ian Malera, Barton Kachinjika and Batson Benjamin Mwambakulu.
The three ex-officio members comprise the Secretary for Natural Resources, Energy, and Environment, the Director of Energy Affairs and the Chief Executive Officer of MERA. The Department of Statutory Corporations also sits on all Board meetings.
Meanwhile, Gondwe says government has no intention of hiking the price of the commodity.
“We do not have the intention of raising the price any time soon. Circumstances might change but the prices will be stable for some time,” Gondwe said.
The possible fuel rise speculation comes after government on 8 November this year raised the price of the commodity with an average of 26.4% whereby petrol in Malawi is selling at $2.3 per litre, up from $1.8, and diesel at $2.1, up from $1.6 per litre.
Dwindling earnings from tobacco – the country’s mainstay, an aid freeze, has resulted into Malawi failing to meet it’s rising fuel import bill. In two years the annual import bill has doubled from around $180 million to $350 million.