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Loggers appeal against timber export ban

ELIZABETH LWENJE, Lusaka
THE Timber Producers Association of Zambia (TPA) has appealed to the Ministry of Lands, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection to reverse the ban on the export of timber.
On Wednesday, Minister of Lands, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Jean Kapata banned the export of logs of any timber species including the highly demanded mukula tree.
Speaking in an interview with the Sunday Mail recently, TPA President Charles Masange said the ban will negatively affect their businesses.
“We appeal to government through the Minister of Lands, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection to reverse the ban and give timber producers a grace period of at least two months so that we clear the timber consignment in stock,” he said.
Mr Masange said the ban on the export of logs could also promote corruption by those who could take advantage of the situation.
He said TPA is unhappy that government did not consult them and other stakeholders before effecting the ban.
“We survive on the timber business and we therefore feel that government must engage us before making any pronouncements, because the ban means that our businesses will be affected and our families will suffer,” Mr Masange said.
He also said the ban will result in government losing revenue in foreign exchange saying timber contributes greatly to the economy and the treasury.
Mr Masange said that the association is aware that transportation of round logs is limited to a radius of 100kms from the area of logging, but he notes that it is not all timber species that can be cut into four pieces due to their physical characteristics.
“Some of the indigenous species’  physical characteristics cannot be cut into four corners and that is why we expected the  minister to give us a grace period of 30 to 60 days to enable us to move such species while we are waiting  for a statutory instrument,” he said.



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