18 February 2014

Malawi to Have 75 Days Fuel Reserve Cover - President Banda

Mzuzu — President Dr Joyce Banda has announced that following the completion of the construction of fuel reservoirs in the three major cities, the country will be having fuel surplus that will be lasting for 75 days.

The President made the announcement Tuesday in Mzuzu after officially laying a foundation stone for the strategic fuel reserves at Sonda in the city. She said better days are ahead in the energy sector, especially the fuel sector.

She added that as the country was clocking 50 years of independence, there was need to have strategic fuel reservoirs that would make sure that the country reserves fuel for use in times of crisis.

Currently, Malawi has a fuel reserve cover of 15 days which she said was not ideal for country's economy in the event of crisis.

"The economic recovery reforms which I had put in place depended on the availability of fuel to be successful; that is why my Government is working tirelessly to make sure that the reserves are built on time," Banda said.

She explained that apart from Sonda in Mzuzu, other reserves are being built at Matindi in Blantyre and Kanengo in Lilongwe.

"We have decided to build the reservoirs in all the regions of the country to ensure equal distribution of developments in all parts of the country," she said.

Banda further explained that the reserves will be storing up to 60 million litres of fuel. She said, presently, the country only manages to store up to 15 million litres of which only 1.7 million litres belong to the government.

"This kind of fuel storage is hand to mouth," she said.

Minister of Energy and Mines Ibrahim Matola said in 2012 the country was facing serious fuel shortages and people were spending nights at filling stations waiting for fuel.

"The problem of fuel was hindering development in the country because people were concentrating on finding fuel and transportation of goods was impossible.

"When the President took over, the problem was taken care of; and with the construction of the reservoirs underway, there is hope that the problem will be taken care of once and for all," Matola said.

Malawi Government is building the reservoirs with the help of the Indian Government. The funding is through Exim Bank of India line of credit to the Government of Malawi.

The contract is between Ministry of Finance and Appollo International Limited in all the three cities of the country.

The reservoirs in Lilongwe and Blantyre will have a capacity of 25 million litres while the Sonda one will have a capacity of 10 million litres, making a total of 60 million litres for the country, according to Matola.

The function was attended by Indian High Commissioner to Malawi, Vanlal Huma, who pledged continued support to the Malawi Government.

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