Chakwera urged to show decisive leadership

…as concerns grow over looming fuel crisis

Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI) has urged President Lazarus Chakwera to end the leadership crisis at National Oil Company of Malawi (NOCMA) and take action to avert looming fuel crisis.

CDEDI Executive Director Sylvester Namiwa made the statement during a press briefing held in Lilongwe on Tuesday.

Namiwa expressed concern over the endless fights between NOCMA and Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (MERA) over the fuel supply contracts, saying the fights will culminate into a fuel crisis.

He faulted NOCMA for identifying fuel suppliers without involving the regulator MERA and publishing the intention to award contracts for fuel supplies in the press without disclosing the prices of the bids as per requirement of the law.

“President Lazarus Chakwera is helplessly watching the drama, instead of stamping his authority to bring sanity on the matter.

Namiwa

“Currently, NOCMA is in leadership crisis, hence their lack of capacity to award fresh contacts to fuel suppliers, since the parastatal’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO); the Director of Finance; and the Procurement Officer, are all on suspension, a development that has crippled NOCMA’s operations,” he explained.

According to Namiwa, having followed the matter they have discovered that greed is also at the center of it all considering that  the supply saga is a result of the in-fighting among the Tonse Alliance partners, who are trying so hard to outclass each other in order to claim hefty commission from the selected suppliers.

He noted that the involvement of politicians in the fuel supplies is not new, as they try so hard to bring in their preferred suppliers.

Namiwa, however, argued that it requires the leadership at NOCMA to do due diligence in the ranking of the bidders to ascertain the technical and financial capacity to supply fuel.

“We have evidence in our possession which indicates that the technical and financial capacity of some of the preferred fuel suppliers is questionable, such that they do not qualify to be awarded the contracts. Such underqualified bidders, whose technical and financial capacity is questionable, are the ones NOCMA has selected from the ‘not full bid’ category, thereby putting the country at risk,” he said.

Namiwa then demanded President Chakwera to show decisive leadership by putting the house at NOCMA.

He added that NOCMA should suspend the current bids since the bid validity expired way back and extend contracts of previous suppliers should be extended in order to avert a looming fuel crisis.

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