BLANTYRE—Fuel shortage has taken motorists in Malawi’s commercial city of Blantyre by surprise as most service stations around town were completely dry, creating long queues at service stations were fuel was available.
A snap survey by Marapost Friday afternoon showed that motorists especially minibus operators were grounded at Mibawa bus terminal with drivers and conductors on the move searching for the commodity.
All filling stations along the Chipembere Highway and downtown were dry, forcing motorists to drive as far as Machinjiri and Chileka road.
Kudya Puma Energy Service station was said to be the only station stocking fuel by close of business Friday but the attendants said fuel wasn’t enough for all motorists who rushed to the station.
“As minibus operators, we can’t do without fuel. It’s disheartening that the fuel scarcity has resurfaced on Friday, a day most motorists refuel their vehicles,” said one motorist.
“There several activities taking place tonight and this weekend,” said another motorist who identified himself as Clement Nkhoma. “[We] need fuel.”
Fuel scarcity first resurfaced in Mzuzu and Lilongwe where pumps also dried up for several days before the situation returned to normal.
Petroleum Importers Limited (PIL) said recently that the development was 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 normalize the situation as quickly as we can,” outgoing PIL board chairperson Dr. Michael Faulkner told The Nation.
Faulkner said they’d fuel about 12 million litres of fuel worth about $10 million at Beira.
“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.
It’s unclear at this time when the situation will normalize.
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