Some traders who sell paraffin say they are buying the commodity in Mozambique and Zambia because most service stations in the country are no longer stocking the product.
Business News has established that some service station owners are reluctant to keep paraffin because it is difficult to sell, forcing the traders to import fuel from neighbouring countries.
A trader at Petroda Service Station in Area 24 in Lilongwe, Julius Maele, said in an interview they have no option but import the commodity from Mozambique and Zambia because it is cheaper.
“I buy a drum of 20 litres at K5 000 and after selling I make more that K10 000. Most of my customers are fishers from Salima and Mangochi.
“I believe that most city residents are not buying paraffin because they use electricity and this could be the reason why filling stations are no longer keeping paraffin,” he said.
Another trader, Steven Chataika, from Dedza said they have problems bringing in paraffin from Zambia because sometimes Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) and police officers confiscate the product.
“This is a risky business but we have no option because we have to survive. The fact that there is no paraffin in filling stations also helps us to have a steady market,” he said.
Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (Mera) acting chief executive officer Elias Hausi confirmed in an interview that there is indeed a reduction in the uptake of paraffin by most service stations in the country.
“I do not have the information that some vendors are buying paraffin from Zambia but what we have noted is that most filling stations are not stocking paraffin. The reasons they are giving are varied but one which is standing out is that it is a slow moving commodity.
“The coming in of solar-powered lamps and other sources of energy could also be a contributing factor as to why paraffin is proving difficult to sell,” he said.