US$90m of PTA fuel loan spent, says govt


The Ministry of Energy, Natural Resources and Environment has disclosed that the country has spent US$90 million of the US$100 million loan from the PTA Bank for fuel importation.

Principal Secretary in the Ministry Ben Botolo told The Daily Times in an exclusive interview in Lilongwe on Friday that he does not expect the country to borrow anymore after it exhausts the remaining US$10 million at from PTA.

“We need to do something [on our own]. We cannot continue to borrow, we will soon have to reach our equilibrium,” Botolo said adding that the country adheres to the Highly Indebted Poor Countries (Hipc) conditions that put controls on levels of borrowing.

He said until the country’s foreign reserves begin to improve, fuel shortages would persists in the country.

“The IMF programme is currently suspended, we hope that with the coming of the new government we will see some changes,” he said.

He said government is hoping that in the next three months, tobacco proceeds would build to levels that can be used to import adequate fuel for the country as government is exploring other ways of addressing the problem.

The country has produced about 151 million kilogrammes of tobacco compared to last year’s volumes of about 190 million kilograms.

Meanwhile, the second week of the tobacco market had sold 2 million kilogrammes at an average price of US$1.08, realising a total of US$2.1 million.

During the same period last year, the market had sold 3.3 million kilograms earning the country USD2.6 million.

During the official ceremony of receiving the fuel from Zambia, Deputy Minister of Energy Vera Cherewani said about 50 fuel tankers had entered the country on Thursday, expecting the supply to improve shortly.

Deputy High Commissioner to Malawi, Henry Ngirazi said the country will be receiving about 10 tankers of 35 000 litres each on daily basis until all the five million litres his country provided to Malawi arrive in the country.

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