While Zambian tax payers will lose more than USD$ 7 million (about 36 billion Zambian Kwacha) in procuring and transporting fuel to Malawi, the Malawian government has resolved to sell the fuel donated by President Michael Sata.

According to Malawian media, that country’s cabinet on Tuesday resolved that the fuel from Zambia should be sold through private retail outlets.

Sold at the current pump prices in Malawi, it means the five million litres could fetch almost 1.9 billion Malawian Kwacha (USD $11.4 million) about 60 billion Zambian Kwacha.

The media further reports that the proceeds realised will be used to foot fuel bills and other expenses incurred during the funeral.

President Michael Sata last week donated five million litres of fuel for funeral of late President Bingu Mutharika.

In Zambia, the value of five million litres of fuel is five million US Dollars. But the fuel also has to be transported to Malawi at Zambia taxi payer’s expenses. 500 tankers are needed to transport the 5 million litres of fuel to Malawi.

Going by the agreement reached between the Zambian government and the Transporters association, a further USD$2 million will be required just for transportation.

There is still mystery on whether the fuel is really a donation as Energy minister Christopher Yaluma was quoted as saying, payment arrangemets will be made after the funeral.

Yaluma made the remarks when he made the symbolic donation in Malawi last Friday.

Maybe Yaluma’s conscious is troubling him as he as energy minister, knows the fragile situation of the fuel sector in Zambia. He also nows that Zambia is in no position to make such enormous donations when a large chunk of the national budget depends on donor aid. Yaluma also knows or ought to know that there is no provision in the current budget to make such gigantic donations and that there is no presidential slash fund where the K36 billion will come from to buy and transport five million litres of fuel to Malawi.

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ZIMENE MUMAKONDA

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