Zambia Forestry and Forest Industrial Corporation (ZAFFICO) has justified its recent controversial move to hike the price of timber in 2023.
ZAFFICO has increased the price for pine by 25% and 85% for eucalyptus.
The sharp increase in price for timber has been opposed by sawmillers and allied traders.
Just last week a group of female sawmillers and allied traders staged a protest outside the ZAFFICO head office in Ndola to object the timber price hike.
But ZAFFICO Public Relations Manager, Ireen Lungu Chipili has said the corporation’s decision to increase the price for timber is due to the change in the economic and business environment of the country.
Speaking on a Radio Icengelo Programme in Ndola, Ms Chipili said ZAFFICO’s costs of production have gone because of the general increase in prices of goods and services in the country
Ms.Chipili said the recent upward adjustment in prices for pine and eucalyptus was intended at responding to the current economic situation and to sustain the operations of the corporation.
She said the increase of 20 percent is a cost reflective of the prevailing economic factors in Zambia.
“The increment that we have implemented is very cost reflective. Forestry management or plantation management in general have different processes and in particular there is heavy use of equipment or machinery so the fuel increment or the price adjustments that we have been having in this country are a huge factor. Like I said the distances involved in the operations that we run as a corporation that is a key factor. The issue of chemicals that border on foreign exchange. Everything has gone up, so we are basically responding to the prevailing economic conditions in the country. I think even the ordinary person out there will agree that even the price at which we are buying a loaf of bread has gone up,” Ms. Chipili said.
Last month, the Zambia National Association of Sawmillers (ZNAS) rejected the decision by Zambia Forestry and Forest Industries Corporation (ZAFFICO) to increase the price for pine and eucalyptus (timber) by 25% and 85% respectively.
At a media briefing in Kitwe, ZNAS General Secretary Derrick Chilatu said the association objected to the proposal of hiking prices of timber arguing that ZAFFICO needed to consult widely on the matter.
Mr. Chilatu said the association is surprised that ZAFFICO has started issuing offer letters indicating the new prices which were still under discussion.
“ZAFFICO has indicated new prices which have increased by 25% for pine and 85% for eucalyptus, a matter which is still under discussion and not yet concluded. Accepting the offer also entails accepting the terms and conditions under which the business will be conducted; which were not attached, but are also under discussion with ourselves. Despite the incompleteness of the offer package, our members have been forced to accept the offers under duress,” Mr. Chilatu said.
The association is demanding that ZAFFICO suspend the sales of pine and eucalyptus until all matters under discussion have been concluded with all associations.
“We would like therefore to appeal to the President of the Republic of Zambia Mr. Hakainde Hichilema who is the father of the nation to intervene in this matter. As an Association, we remain committed to our values of promoting dialogue and peaceful resolution of issues. We shall remain available for engagement at any time and we appeal to our members to remain calm and peaceful as we pursue all the issues using dialogue,” he stated.
It’s important to engage partners when you make such decisions. The problem at ZAFFICO is that there’s a lack of transparency and accountability. Unfortunately, both the Management and the traders are guilty. A serious audit would reveal that most timber isn’t accounted for. Most of the funds are stolen in collaboration with the traders. So they know that if there was accountability there wouldn’t be any need to increase the prices. They’re paying for their dishonest. Who audits ZAFFICO?
How do you justify the increase by 85% for eucalyptus….I mean what costs are involved when you planted the trees 5 -10 years ago unless you are an exporter and just following global market prices.
“We would like therefore to appeal to the President of the Republic of Zambia Mr. Hakainde Hichilema who is the father of the nation to intervene in this matter…
When are we going to stop with this stupidity…he is not the father of the nation but an elected public offical so what happened to Lazy Lungu is no longer your father now he is not president? The president is your servant
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