There was commotion in Malawi’s capital city Lilongwe when motorists scrambled for petrol at the only available Puma Energy fuel garage at the city centre on Tuesday.
This according to a report by Business Times resulted into panic and angry outbursts, forcing police to come and control the volatile situation.
The Lilongwe fuel conundrum was a typical reminiscent of what used to happen during the last three years of late president Bingu wa Mutharika’s regime.
And The Nationreported that since Monday evening, many pump stations in Lilongwe were dry, annoying motorists who never anticipated the fuel shortage just days after the upward price adjustment.
The Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (Mera) announced new fuel prices on Friday.
The black market has reaped from the petrol pump dry up as jerry can of five litres of petrol which is being sold at K4,500 or K900 per litre compared to K2695 or K539 per litre which motorists would normally pay at a filling station.
Apart from Lilongwe, Mzuzu pumps also dried up a week ago but according to recent reports the situation has been back to normal.
Petroleum Importers Limited (PIL) has said the development is a result of a surge in demand for fuel.
“We have been taken unawares by the sudden surge in demand, especially in Lilongwe from last Friday. We understand that the public was informed of a potential shortage; hence, people are stocking up. As such, volumes normally consumed in one week were consumed in two days. But we are doing our best to normalise the situation as quickly as we can,” said PIL board outgoing chairperson Dr. Michael Faulkner is quoted by The Nation.
“Currently, we have fuel worth approximately $10 million [approximately 12 million litres] at Beira which we are lifting for both petrol and diesel. We also have 1.8 million litres of diesel being loaded at Nacala as we speak and wagons are on the way to Malawi. We are negotiating with various banks to avail more financial instruments to ensure that the supply of fuel remains smooth like it has been over the last three months. The Reserve Bank [of Malawi] has been very instrumental in ensuring that we get all the support required for financial instruments,” said Faulkner.
Normalizing fuel situation in the country has been President Mrs. Banda key political card as she touts it as her main achievement since her ascendancy to the throne.
As such, some analysts argue that if the ugly situation resurfaces across the country then it would add to more disaffection from the populace.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :