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Successive government’s keep neglecting the Forestry Department

Time Posted: February 25, 2013 8:57 am

Zambia is losing revenue from illegal cutting of trees. Mongu district forestry department confiscating timber from unlicensed dealers at Mongu central market during a market inspection exercise in Mongu

By Forestry Department Staff
It is so disappointing that Government has been so selective in making efforts to enhance operations and functions of some of its departments in an effort to deliver services to the general public.While it is appreciated that some departments are given priority because of the critical role they play in running affairs of Government, some other important ones have still been neglected to the extent of even neglecting officers in those departments.

Forestry Department is one such a Government department that has been neglected so much,not only by the current Patriotic Front Government but also other previous Governments that were in power before.The most critical issues contributing to non effectiveness of the department include erratic and inadequate funding to the department for its operations.This has affected mostly District Offices in all the provinces of the Country where the office of the Forestry exist.

However, the Minister of Lands, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection has tried to support the department by promoting tree planting after a very long time of about over 20 years,though with bad timing and lack of proper advise from forest professionals at Forestry Headquarters.

Deforestation is increasing at an alarming rate with over 300,000 hectares been degraded annually in Zambia.

Secondly the non restructuring of the department cannot pass without any comment. Officers are still under old conditions of services making them among Government officers that are paid very low salaries.Why should a situation where under the same Government but in different ministries, some officers are paid higher salaries while others are paid very low salaries yet they hold the same qualifications for the jobs they do.

The Government must show some seriousness in addressing some of these serious anomalies which have made certain ministries become non effective with demotivated officers.Government cannot fail to secure funds for restructuring such smaller departments if it managed to restructure bigger ones like health.

This cannot go on without mentioning that it is very much possible that some money meant to commence the restructuring of Forestry Department could have been released by Government but might have been diverted by unscrupulous leaders within the Government system. I therefore wish to call upon His Excellency, President Michael Chilufya Sata to develop interest in the matter and follow it up critically because Forestry Department is an important department which plays a vital role in conserving the country’s environment.Deforestation is increasing at an alarming rate with over 300,000 hectares been degraded annually in Zambia. It’s up to the Government to ensure that the department is fully funded as well as officers are paid accordingly especially that the Government recently conducted Job valuations in all ministries. I only hope that there will be a good report out of it and that as they start negotiating for good conditions of service for public workers, a positive result shall come forth.

The other area to be looked at is the issue of having district offices run by officers with different qualifications whereby at one district,its run by a degree holder while at another district, it’s run by a Classified Daily Employee even when there is someone with better qualifications. I hear that the Minister of Lands, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection will be presenting the Bill for restructuring the department in Parliament and only hope that every meaningful Member of Parliament will be able to support it.

13 Comments

  1. vote
    flag unemployed forester!!! says: unemployed forester!!!
    February 25, 2013 at 9:23 am |

    Dear Editor,
    Its not only the issue of funding @ FD that is the matter.
    There is an aspect of unemplyment for students that graduate from either CBU or ZFC. Can you imagine that the department and gvt (the main employer) in particular last employed foresters in 1998 on a mass scale!!!
    This situation has left many of us who have studied this programme to start thinking otherwise or change careers and as a matter of fact become destitutes as though we have never been to school.
    PF gvt hear our cry, the unemployed but trained forestry professionals.

    Reply
    1. vote
      flag Mbo Sam says: Mbo Sam
      February 25, 2013 at 2:12 pm |

      #1, I sympathise with you and I also wish to pay tribute to my friend Mr Fanwell Nduna (ex ZAFICO MD) who was put to rest last Friday 22/02/2013 in Ndola MHSRIP. He had forestry at his heart for Zambia.

  2. vote
    flag Namona says: Namona
    February 25, 2013 at 9:49 am |

    It’s sad how Forestry has been neglected. No wonder illegal logging and other harmful human activities in forests have kept on increasing.

    Reply
  3. vote
    flag Sansamukeni says: Sansamukeni
    February 25, 2013 at 9:49 am |

    The problem with the Forestry Department is not so much of Government, but governance at the Department level. How come it is the only Department that has not been restructured in the whole former Ministry (MTENR) and even in its new Ministry of Lands??? Besides, it is only one that ahs failed to effect a forestry that was enacted in 1999 but ocntinues withh the archaic 1973 Act which is not only anarchronistic but also out of sync with the Forestry Policy, which it is implementing???? Start with changing leadership at Forestry Department and vibrant leadership will change things.

    Not people who just specialise in holding each Minister hostage and feed him lies to hold on to their jobs!!!

    Reply
  4. vote
    flag jinx says: jinx
    February 25, 2013 at 10:10 am |

    Honestly, is the government to blame for anything? You educated people in this department, stand up like Clive Chirwa did and get the attension of GRZ. Goverment has alot of work both international and domestic; To sit and cry waiting for Government to see you and help you is the most stupid thing you can do. Even after being employed, you will be saying there is no funding, start using your heads.

    Reply
  5. vote
    flag Innocent Chimfutumba says: Innocent Chimfutumba
    February 25, 2013 at 11:19 am |

    As a young boy of 7 in 1960 I used to escort my late Mum whenever she went charcoal burning. The Forestry Guard ‘Kapenda-Mabula’ was the most feared in the bush than a policeman on patrol. Most Burners had to pay some money evey time they went charcoal-burning. I am Activist of Treevolution. Charcoal burning can generate lots of money for Govt, but most important for every cut tree another has to be grown and tendered by the burners before getting another permit. This need lots of Guard/foresters to be employed. Forestry is a big industry which has been neglected in Zambia. Trained Foresters should be innovative to create own employment by production and trade in forestry products like timber, furniture, large scale tree farming, beekeeping and selling of dry wood for cooking…

    Reply
  6. vote
    flag A Phiri ana bwe... says: A Phiri ana bwe...
    February 25, 2013 at 11:33 am |

    The idea of conservation of our natural resources could do with renewed emphasis from primary school level. If one’s experience is to view trees for example as merely charcoal it is probably a necessity and the difference between cooking food or starving. Our planners know by now how ‘BBQ’s’ are us. The fact that we can continually provide natural replacements over time in protected areas is reinforced through education of the merits of forestry much like fishing, farming etc. Blessed with resource, now it is time to apply skills, plan, fund and preserve just don’t forget to encourage the next generation who can and will blame us for any lack of foresight.

    Reply
  7. vote
    flag Andrew Biemba says: Andrew Biemba
    February 25, 2013 at 12:42 pm |

    I still wonder why ZFC and CBU enroll every year coz there are no jobs. Expensive as it is in fees our parents struggled to make us educated but how can we pay back. please ba government help us

    Reply
  8. vote
    flag Kibinda waba Kabwa says: Kibinda waba Kabwa
    February 25, 2013 at 3:11 pm |

    Its not only the problem of Forestry as a whole; its the issue of “foreseeing a problem” before it hits – and we call that fire fighting. In Zambia leaders react to symptoms; and by the time the react, it would be too late. Forestry department is a crucial stakeholder to development; you only see the importance when you are hit by the shortage of timber; by the time you want to make changes, it will be too late; you have to wait for 35 years to correct the problem. Look at the fisheries; Roads; Sewer treatment plants; water treatment and electricity generation. All these problems such as accidents; smelly towns; garbage collection to mention but a few are a symptom of poor implementation of plans or poor political investment on things that can make people’s lives better. 1991 – 2011…

    Reply
  9. vote
    flag Kibinda waba Kabwa says: Kibinda waba Kabwa
    February 25, 2013 at 3:15 pm |

    #8: continued: What you see now are the symptoms of poor performance of a government. The crucial point is which government? I am sure you can tell. Unfortunately for PF, they have taken over all these challenges, and personally, I feel for them because they are to blame for the inaction of our previous government. Poor Sata and the team need to spend a lot of time investing in public relations as well as showing people what they have done with reference to what was not done between 1991 – 2011. This for me, is the greatest challenge for PF. E.g, Zesco has performed poorly on this front; Roads department again poor; except after 53 people died. the list can be endless.
    As a nation we need to invest in “IMPLEMENTATION” OR WALKING THE TALK. AMEN

    Reply
    1. vote
      flag A Phiri ana bwe... says: A Phiri ana bwe...
      February 25, 2013 at 3:26 pm |

      Well said. There is a reluctance to accept responsibility for the legacies we leave and a focus on pointing out only the success stories. Having been away for a while it was the deterioration for me that stuck out more than the ‘development’. Perhaps living with things falling apart around us slowly means we don’t see the importance of a culture of maintenance. The positive thing is that on the ground people are actually willing to do what needs to be done. ‘Politics’ at the moment is getting in the way of ‘hands on’, roll up sleeves and get the work done ethic. This is the responsibility of all parties but what could make the difference is ourselves not waiting for someone else to get the job done and finding ways in our individual areas to make a difference. Doing my part as I…

  10. vote
    flag malinso says: malinso
    February 26, 2013 at 12:28 am |

    castrate them…deforesters

    Reply
  11. vote
    flag YOLANDA THELMA PHIRI says: YOLANDA THELMA PHIRI
    April 5, 2013 at 10:46 am |

    i personally think the government is to blame for deteriorating forest resources in this country. all other government departments are funded apart from the forestry department. maybe other district forestry offices are better but the kasempa district forestry office is in a deplorable state. how are they supposed to carry out their routine forest patrols when they dont have not even a biscycle, they dont even have a common desktop computer in the DFOs office. all their monthly reports are hand written. if we do not want our forest to become extinct something should be done urgently because the officers are not motivated to work in that despite working in such awful working environmental they are the least paid government employees.

    Reply

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