Illegal timber traders invade Luangwa and Nyimba districts

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Zambian timber loggers complain the Chinese are slicing through their heritage. Photo - EddiE Mwanaleza

Illegal timber traders have invaded Luangwa and Nyimba districts.

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Ministry of Land, Natural Resources and Environment Protection Deputy Minister Mutaba Mwali expressed concern at the alarming rate at which the Mukula tree was being harvested by illegal timber dealers.
Dr. Mwali told ZANIS that about 50 to 60 trucks loaded with Mukula timber troop into Lusaka every day.
He further explained that government is losing out on revenue due to the false documentation being used by the timber traders.
However Dr Mwali said government will not seat idle and let the situation deteriorate further.
The deputy minister said his ministry will not hesitate to impound any truck found carrying Mukula tree without valid documentation.
He said government’s interest is to ensure that the natural resources the country is endowed with benefits everyone and not a few selected individuals.
And a spot check in the two districts by the Ministry of Lands, Natural Resources and Environment Protection revealed that illegal timber trades were using false documentation in a bid to elude police officers manning check points along the Great East Road.
It is alleged that due to the readily available market for the Mukula timber tree in China, Chinese nationals trading in timber products are paying 250 kwacha per two point five meters of a Mukula log.
The development has promoted charcoal burners abandoning their usuall business in preference to illegal timber cutting.
And Chief Nyalugwe has since appealed to government to urgently initiate tough measures against traders ripping the country’s resources dubiously.

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