Zambia: 'Clear Timber Policy Needed'

SENANGA Central Member of Parliament Likando Mufalali has urged the Government to develop a clear timber policy and strategy that will make it more responsive to economic development.

Recently, the Government suspended the timber licences to protect the depleting forest around the country.

Mr Mufalali said there was need for the Government to develop a clear timber policy and strategy that would look at issues of timber particularly forest fires and charcoal burning.

In an interview, Mr Mufalali said forest management was critical to development of the country saying that the people of Western province depended on the timber production thereby it was important for the Government to develop a strategy on how the issues of forest depleting would be addressed.

Mr Mufalali said making the timber policy more responsive would encourage economic growth and employment opportunities.

He said it was important for the Government to find other energy alternatives for the people to curb charcoal burning.

Mr Mufalali said it was unfair to suspend the licensing of timber production as a number of people in the rural areas depend on timber and he therefore, urged the Government to consider reversing the situation.

Forestry is renewable natural resources which with prudent management could sustain the country in providing forestry goods and employment opportunities.

Mr Mufalali said: " Speaking for the people of Senanga Central we are deeply concerned with the suspension of licences of timber production because the people depend on timber for their livelihood hence the need for Lands, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection minister Wylbur Simuusa to quickly tell us what he want to do."

He called on the minister to allow timber merchants to move their logs before they get damaged by the rains.

"The ban will create poverty among our people and it is important that these issues are addressed immediately. The people paid for the licences and just to institute a ban on timber means that they are unable to sustain themselves. In short, the continuing of the ban will have an effect on the economy of Senanga," Mr Mufalali said.

Land, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection minister Wylbur Simuusa said inhj a separate interview that, the Government would this week hold a consultative meeting to discuss the way forward on timber production.

Mr Simuusa said: "We are going to have a national wide meeting this week where issues will be discussed and thereafter I will announce the measures to be taken. We have taken into

account the issues raised by timber producers across the country but also it is important to look at the negative performance before I announce the measures to be taken."

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