The availability of fuel in most service stations in the country has forced the black market to sell the petroleum products below recommended prices.
A survey Nation Online conducted in Lilongwe last week showed that a litre of petrol is going at K540 (about $158) while that of diesel is pegged at K520 (about $1.52). The official prices for petrol and diesel are K606.30 (about $1.78) and K597.40 (about $1.75).
In an interview, one of the black market fuel dealers in Area 25 Joseph Chikawo, said they have reduced the prices because fuel is now readily available in the country.
“Last year during Christmas, we made a lot of money because petroleum products were scarce.
“There were long queues of vehicles here and some black market dealers built decent houses while others purchased vehicles,” he said.
Chikawo said if the trend continues, then most of them will be forced out of business.
The availability of fuel on the market was largely due to the 5.6 million litres of the product which Zimbabwe released as part payment of its loan agreement with the Government of Malawi.
Minister of Energy Ibrahim Matola recently told Nation Online that of the 5.6 million litres, three million is petrol and 2.6 million is diesel.
In 2007, Malawi gave Zimbabwe a soft loan of $100 million (K33 billion), but Zimbabwe only repaid $76 million (K25 billion). Instead of clearing the balance in cash, the two governments agreed to offset the loan with an equivalent amount of fuel.