Acting chief executive officer of National Oil Company of Malawi (Nocma) Helen Buluma told the same committee that the company needs US$80 million at once for fuel market to start operating normally.
Fuel importers say fuel shortage is expected to ease in the coming days as tankers carrying five million litres which was at ports of Beira in Mozambique and Dar es Salaam in Tanzania are on its way to Malawi.
General Manager for Petroleum Importers Limited (PIL) Martin Msimuko told a Parliamentary Joint Committee on Saturday that 15 trucks carrying fuel arrived on Saturday and good volumes are on the way.
Msimuko told the committee that the cause of continued fuel scarcity is forex shortage.
He said fuel importers are struggling to get forex from commercial banks as sometimes there is no forex while sometimes there are priorities as some banks are looking at fertilizer market and medicine.
He said the fuel scarcity is expected to ease in the coming days as tankers carrying five million litres which was at ports of Beira in Mozambique and Dar es Salaam in Tanzania are on its way to Malawi.
Msimuko lamented that banks have reduced amounts of forex that they were allocating to importers for fuel.
He said Standard Bank has reduced the amount from $25 million to $5 million, FDH has reduced the allocation from $10 million to $5 million.
However, he says Ecobank managed to increase from $30 million to $40 million but it has been exhausted, he said.
He said banks have other competing priorities such as fertilizer, drugs and others that need forex.
However, he said importers engaged the Reserve Bank of Malawi on the issue of forex which linked PIL to a bank outside the country for a facility of $50 million.
Buluma said the company and other fuel importers have enough local currency but what is lacking is the US dollar for foreign exchange.
She said that is for this reason that the company has resorted to negotiating on getting the fuel on open credit, saying they have managed to source 10 million litres of petrol and 10 million litres of diesel on open litres.
She said at the moment, because suppliers are struggling to get Letters of Credit, there is an imbalance as Nocma is importing 85 to 90 percent of the fuel.
According to Buluma, as of last weekend of August, they brought in six million litres and 13.1 million litres as of Friday, saying eight million litres of diesel is on the way.