Government has conceded that the current fuel shortages experienced in northern and central region and some parts of the country are due problem of foreign exchange availability.
Mzuzu and Lilongwe and surrounding areas have been experiencing erratic fuel supply in the past weeks, forcing motorists to form queues at most filling stations in search for gas.
Minister of Energy and Mines Cassim Chilumpha attributed the problem to shortage of forex, saying government was currently failing to buy enough fuel to meet the demand on the market.
“Fuel is available on the international market enough for us to procure and store in reserves but availability of forex remains biggest challenge,” said Chilumpha in an interview with local media.
“Low donor inflow and poor proceeds from this year’s tobacco season are major challenges contributing to the country’s lack of enough forex for adequate fuel procurement,” said Chilumpha.
Chilumpha disclosed that some of the country’s fuel supplying companies like Puma and Total do not have money to buy fuel on their own due to the current economic challenges.
He added that based on trend on the international market, fuel companies were required to make an upfront payment as fuel procurement on credit is not offered.
“It such kind of problems that are putting local fuel companies in a corner to buy enough fuel that can meet the demand on the local market,” he explained.
However, Chilumpha said government was optimistic that lasting solution will be found in no time to end the problem in order to protect the country’s transport sector from being affected by the fuel shortage as was the case during the previous government.