Government has reaffirmed that the ban on harvesting and trading in Mukula timber remains in effect indefinitely.
Minister of Green Economy and Environment, Collins Nzovu, said while the ban is in effect, government will ensure that trading in Mukula and all other timber species is done sustainably to reduce deforestation and other negative impacts.
Speaking during a media briefing in Lusaka today, Mr. Nzovu stated that government will carry out a thorough assessment of Mukula stocks in the country to determine quantities.
He said the assessment is also meant to establish the true value and determine the potential of the timber industry with emphasis on value addition, job and wealth creation.
Mr. Nzovu explained that government will further develop and put in place mechanisms that will be fair, inclusive and equitable to all Zambians including women and the youth.
“This will entail empowerment of the youths and many Zambians economically as opposed to enriching a few,” he said.
“Government will initiate the process of amendments to the Forests Act No. 4 of 2015 in order to provide for stiffer penalties to deter would be offenders,” he added.
The minister further said there will be a review of relevant subsidiary legislation in order to ensure that all Zambians eligible to trade in timber without any form of discrimination obtain optimal benefits from the timber industry.
Mr. Nzovu said government will explore the possibility of providing small and medium enterprises engaged in the timber with value addition start-up funds.
And the minister announced that government has allowed the transit of Mukula logs from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) through Zambia.
He said the DRC government made an appeal to transit 3,400 forty-foot containers through Zambia prior to the 2017 Mukula exportation ban.
MR. Nzovu said only 1,500 forty-foot out of the 3,400 containers have been moved since the start of the operation leaving a balance of 1,900 forty-foot containers.
“There are about 200 trucks that have already paid inspection and escort fees before the expiry of SI No. 58 of 2020 and these trucks shall be permitted to transit. Government shall make its positions known on future transits of Mukula timber,” he said.