The Minister of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining has promulgated regulations for Liquid Fuels and Gas Industry by making a number of amendments to the Liquid Fuels and Gas Regulations of 2009. The Minister of Energy approved and gazzetted amended Liquid Fuels and Gas regulations on 15th September 2017. The regulations makes it mandatory for investors to obtain a Construction Licence from the Malawi Regulatory Authority (MERA) prior to commencing construction of a Fuel Retail Outlet.
Regulation 39 of the Liquid Fuels and Gas (Production and Supply) (amendment) Regulations of 2017 states that;
- 39(1) The Authority shall prescribe the standards to be followed in the construction and maintenance of retail fuel outlets.
- 39(2) All applicants shall obtain a Construction Licence from the Authority prior to commencing construction of a retail fuel outlet.
- 39(3) The Authority shall not issue or renew a Construction or Retail Licence unless the applicant’s retail outlet complies with the standards prescribed by the Authority.
The standards prescribe suitability of location for construction of service stations, technical standards to be followed during construction and ensure coordination amongst various stakeholders whose approvals are required for the Authority to issue a construction licence.
Under the new regulations, MERA does not approve construction of a service station if;
- The proposed site is located within a radius of 1 Km of an operational service station in urban, built-up or residential area. Consideration can be made only:
- a) If the new service station will be located on a one way road and has an island between the lanes, in which case the nearest service station can be located not less than 750 m on the other road with traffic flowing in the opposite direction.
- b) If the locality’s security of supply is considered to be vulnerable by MERA.
- The proposed site is located within a radius of 100 m from any public institutions which are normally overcrowded such as but not restricted to schools, churches, markets, bus stops, public libraries, auditoriums, stadiums, hospitals, public playgrounds and any other places as may be prescribed by MERA.
- The station is to be part of a shopping complex, it should be located in the isolated part of the development 50m away, which distance can be reduced if the developer can clearly demonstrate the need exists and that no significant safety and operational risks will occur as a result of the location of the service station;
- The proposed site is located within a sensitive area as declared by Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) as provided for by the Environment Management Act.
- The proposed site is within 50m of residential areas subject to approval by the City Council.
- The site does not meet requirements of the local council.
MERA is, therefore, calling upon all developers who are currently constructing or intend to commence construction of new fuel retail outlets who obtained approvals from other Authorities to submit the approvals and all other relevant documents to MERA by 2nd January, 2018 for a review to ensure compliance to the new regulations.
MERA Contact Details:
2nd Floor Development House, City Centre,
Private Bag B-496, LILONGWE 3.
Phone : 01 774 103/135 /01 775 810
Regional Office South
7th Floor, Delamere House
Phone: 01 832 496 / 893
Regional Office North:
Phone: 01 312 878/769/719