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Kapata calls for efficiency in monitoring mukula

NKOLE MULAMBIA, Kasumbalesa
MINISTER of Lands Jean Kapata is disappointed with forestry department researchers for not advising Government on the source of the mukula tree logs that are destined for export.
And over 100 trucks carrying logs of the mukula tree at Kasumbalesa border are still held by Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA).
Ms Kapata (pictured), who inspected the trucks at the border last Friday, said Government is not able to tell the source of the tree, but is working out measures to control the illegal trade of the logs, which are believed to be from high rainfall belt areas like North-Western Province, Copperbelt Province and Katanga region of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
The minister held a closed-oor meeting with a delegation from DRC, ZRA and Government officials at which issues related to trading in mukula tree were discussed.
“I am disappointed with our forestry researchers for not telling us where these trees are coming from. We are not able to tell whether these logs are from within Zambia or they are from Congo,” she said.
She is also concerned about the high number of trucks transporting the logs.
‘You cannot be having over a 100 trucks coming in everyday with the same things on board, you mean there is no other trade that we can do other than the mukula tree?” she asked.
Meanwhile, over 100 truck drivers have appealed to Government to release them without the logs as they have been waiting for clearance for a long time.
Some drivers have been at the border between two weeks and a month waiting for the clearance of permits for ferrying the logs which are destined to various countries, including Namibia and South Africa.
One driver, George Kangali, who arrived at the border on March 1, said he is still waiting for clearance of his papers, which are with his agent.
“We are more than 100 truck drivers who are here waiting for the papers and we are asking Government to let us offload the trees because we are just transporters and we are suffering because we have no money to spend as we have not been paid,” he said.
Most drivers talked to said they loaded the logs in Congo and appealed to Government to expedite the process of clearing their trucks.

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