MERA pleads with RBM to prioritize forex allocation to licensed fuel importers

Malawi Revenue Regulatory Authority (MERA) has asked the Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) Governor to consider prioritizing forex allocation to licensed fuel importers following fuel shortages the country is currently facing due to reduced imports as local commercial banks have not been able establish adequate Letters of Credit for fuel imports.

The letter from Chief Executive Officer, Henry Kachaje warns that the “resultant effects of fuel shortages can lead to long lasting and detrimental to the economy”.

MERA CEO Henry Kachaje moves to curb fuel shortages

“In the meantime, some commercial banks are offering different denominations from the usual US dollars, albeit in small amounts, and the cross rate is resulting in high landed costs that would eventually push pump prices higher.”

Kachaje says if RBM will prioritize the forex allocation to licensed fuel importers would help in “normalizing the fuel supply situation as currently, the limited fuel imports are being consumed directly, denying the sector possibility of building stocks to normalize the situation”.

Kachaje indicated the licensed importers that need RBM’s assistance to have their applications for Letters of Credits with various local commercial banks.

They include National Oil Company of Malawi (NOCMA); Petroleum Importers Limited (PIL); Mount Meru Petroleum Limited and Energem Petroleum Limited.

“Sir, consideration of forex allocation for fuel imports to the above listed will go a long way in complementing NOCMA’s efforts of building fuel stocks internally as demand for volumes by the oil marketing companies from NOCMA will reduce.”

The past weeks have seen the majority of fuel stations drying up and where the commodity was available accompanied long queues— as Kachaje indicates that “the limited fuel imports are being consumed directly”.

“We are hopeful that the Authority’s request will be favourably considered and consequently, ensuring the security of fuel supply.”

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