The Forestry Department in Northwestern Province has raised over K17 million which is above the set target for this year.
Provincial Forestry Officer, Maxwell Phiri told ZANIS in an interview in that the target for the year was K17 million but by September 30, 2021, the department reached above the target and raised K17, 682,000 as non-tax forest revenue.
Mr Phiri disclosed that the major sources of revenue has been the production and conveyance fees for timber and charcoal, disposal of confiscated forest produce and fines and penalties.
Mr Phiri has attributed the rise in revenue collection to government support through which the department received four Toyota Hilux utility vehicles and one Fuso track last year.
“We generate revenue every day but then we compile every month, also quarterly and annually, but we are given annual targets as a department, our target this year was K17 million by September 30, we were above our target by 50%”, Mr Phiri said.
Meanwhile, Mr Phiri appealed to government to secure more utility vehicles to cater for the eleven districts in order to enhance patrols and community sensitizations.
He said lack of vehicles hinder inspection of concession areas thereby, creating a lot of leakages in terms of revenue.
“Without a vehicle officers cannot inspect these concession areas then there will be a lot of leakages in terms of revenue, people would avoid to pay for these resources, they would buy timber illegally from the communities and then transport outside the province and no money goes to the government”, Mr Phiri stated
He said charcoal burning and illegal cutting down of timber production remains the major problem facing the department.
Mr Phiri said North-western province has abundance of rosewood which is on demand thereby, attracting people from other provinces and neighbouring countries such as Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
He said foreign nationals are conniving with local people for illegal timber business which is one of the most lucrative activity.
Mr Phiri said the department is working with traditional leaders to sensitize the communities on the importance of preserving forest reserves.