Minister of Energy Newton Kambala has come under fire for cancelling the process of recruiting new fuel suppliers at National Oil Company of Malawi (NOCMA).
Former NOCMA board member Fryson Chodzi says the minister should stop interfering in the affairs of the company.
On Saturday, Kambala directed that the current round of tendering at NOCMA be cancelled until credible management has been instituted.
He said: “I have already written the Board to put a credible Executive management in place through a transparent process within the shortest possible time and that in the absence of a credible management the fuel supply tender be cancelled. As government we take public outcry very seriously and this is why His Excellency the State President issued a directive through his public statement on 5th November 2020 that issues at NOCMA needed to be resolved immediately.”
The directive came after NOCMA board, following President Lazarus Chakwera’s order, fired Helen Buluma as acting chief executive officer of NOCMA.
Buluma who is deputy NOCMA CEO then accused Kambala of pressuring her to award fuel supply contracts to suppliers of his preference.
Chodzi in a Facebook post noted that NOCMA is a Limited Company owned by the Government and the President holds the shares on behalf of Malawians.
The oversight and supervision is in the hands of the Board which is supposed to report directly to the shareholder, the President hence there is no role for the Minister of Energy in the operations of NOCMA.
He added that Kambala erred to write the Board of NOCMA on the suspension of the tender process because the Minister did not appoint the Board.
“Therefore, the least the Minister would have done was to write the shareholder, the President advising him necessary actions and the shareholder taking action with the Board of NOCMA. This directive to NOCMA from the Minister is faulty and an error as well and best be described as interference,” he said.
Chodzi then noted that the current contract to supply fuel to NOCMA expires on 31st December 2020 hence NOCMA will need new suppliers as of 1st January 2021.
He expressed fear that Kambala’s directive will create a fuel crisis in Malawi come January 2021 since other suppliers combined have no capacity to satisfy the national requirements.
Chodzi said: “Their capacity is up to only 5 days of fuel and in the event that any calamity befalls the supply chain, Malawi will run dry.”