The Zambia Association of Timber and Forestry Based Industry has alleged that about 5,000 mukula laden containers from Zambia have been exported to China following the ban on the exportation of timber species in 2017.
ZTFBI general secretary Kalowa Moota has charged that the government has breached the Forestry Act No. 4 of 2015 by effecting a ban while timber continues to be exported without following the law.
He said the manner in which timber is being exported is designed to only promote and cover illegal activities by the privileged few depriving majority Zambians who are legally supposed to participate in the sector.
“In reference to the Article 64 of the Forestry Act No. 4 of 2015, the Minister can only ban timber export through a Statutory Instrument in extensive consultation with stakeholders. The ban can only be interpreted as designed to only promote and cover the illegal activities by the privileged few depriving majority Zambians,” he said.
Moota has further accused government of using Article 100 of the Forestry Act to cover activities of illegal export of timber.
He added that according to Forestry Act No. 4 of 2015 on the timber concession license, the restriction on mukula harvesting, transportation and trading is null and void as it is not backed by any Statutory Instrument.
Moota said the timber industry has potential to create over 5 million jobs for Zambians if well managed by engaging all stakeholders.
“We don’t believe in the ban on the exportation of mukula and other timber species because every ban has proved to be a failure in the past and it only exacerbate more illegalities.
“For instance during the 2012 ban, there were more than 4000 mukula timber containers from Zambia, as for the 2017 ban, we are aware that about 5000 mukula laden containers from Zambia have been exported to China,” he added.
Recently, PF youths intercepted trucks laden with mukula trees being exported to China while the Zambia Revenue Authority impounded another set in a syndicate that has griped the nation with shock.