President Joyce Banda says fuel supplies will normalise from next month to April next year following a US$250 million (about K80 billion) agreement signed between the government and PTA Bank to provide a facility for purchasing fuel.

Banda said this yesterday at a press conference that was conducted at Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe upon her arrival from a Comesa summit in Uganda.

There has been erratic fuel supply in the country this month and this resulted in people buying petrol and diesel from the black market where it is pegged at K1,000 a litre, about K400 more than the pump price.

“Shortage of fuel was due to logistics and forex shortage. But Malawi has reached an agreement with the PTA Bank which will provide millions of dollars for fuel supply,” said Banda in a speech monitored on state controlled Malawi Broadcasting Cooperation (MBC).

She said of the US$250,000 facility from PTA Bank, US$150,000, would be used for buying fuel while US$100 million would be used for buying fertiliser for the subsidy programme.

She said the fuel situation would normalise from December to April next year following the credit agreement.

“Time has come for the country to address the problem once and for all,” she said.

She appealed to the private sector to ensure that it generates enough foreign exchange for the country.

On tripartite elections, Banda said her government was ready to conduct three elections in 2014, adding “local councillors elections were more important that general elections.”

She also accused critics of politicising her gesture of distributing maize and flour to hunger-striken families.

“I sourced the maize to complement the efforts of government and other non-governmental organisations in helping the families that are affected by hunger. Let us join hands to help families that are suffering,” she appealed.

On Lake Malawi border dispute with Tanzania, the president said the lake belongs to Malawi since time immemorial and appealed to Malawians to remain calm.

She said the issue has been referred to former heads of state. The president also said she does not hold any grudges against opposition United Democratic Front (UDF) president Atupele Muluzi who resigned as Economic Planning Minister.

She described him as a hard working minister who was also ready to learn.

At the Comesa Summit, she handed over her chairmanship to this year’s host President Yoweri Museveni, among other functions.

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ZIMENE MUMAKONDA

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