Saturday, April 21, 2012
By Gift Chanda
Sat 21 Apr. 2012, 13:29 CAT
THOSE criticising the government's fuel donation to Malawi are not Africans, says energy permanent secretary George Zulu. And energy minister Christopher Yaluma says Malawi has expressed interest to be supplied fuel from Zambia on a commercial basis in future.
Flagging the first consignment of the three million litres of fuel to Malawi to help facilitate funeral arrangements for late president Bingu wa Mutharika, Zulu clarified that the fuel was a donation.
"...It is a donation... It is a funeral and Zambia is helping," Zulu said.
"Zambia has always been assisting its neighbours. Last time, it donated maize to Zimbabwe when that country had problems. (So) those criticising this gesture are not Africans."
He said the fuel problems in Malawi were real.
Malawi, which consumes one million litres of fuel on a daily basis, has been facing serious economic problems.
"Diplomats cross over to Chipata to buy fuel but we thought the ordinary people cannot manage. So we decided to assist them with this fuel to use during the time they are mourning their leader," Zulu said.
"In an African setup, we help our neighbours when they are in grief."
Zulu also disclosed that the Zambian government would pay the transporters of the fuel.
And Yaluma described the three million litres fuel donation to Malawi as "peanuts".
"The fuel consumption per month in Malawi is 33 million litres. So this fuel will be finished in three days," he said. "But for future assistance, Malawi expressed interest to the Zambian government (to be supplied fuel) when I had a meeting with them."
Yaluma explained that this, however, would be on a commercial basis.
Zambia is currently exploring ways of accessing cheap oil from oil-rich Angola.