Illegal Mukula tree exports worry govt

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Illegal Mukula tree exports worry govt

Serenje, AUG  12, 2014,ZANIS………..Government says the country is losing a lot of Mukula trees which is being illegally exported to Tanzania.

Lands, Environment and Natural Resources Permanent Secretary Inutu Suba says the precious Mukula tree is being exported through the Nakonde border post.

ZANIS reports that Ms Suba was in Serenje district to verify reports of rampant destruction of the Mukula tree by illegal traders.

She said her Ministry discovered that most of the Mukula tree being illegally exported to Tanzania through the Nakonde border was from Serenje and the surrounding districts.

Ms Suba who described her visit to the district as an eye opener said her Ministry discovered that the two licensed Mukula dealers in the district, Fyakwalesa Fya kwalesa and Masswood Enterprise who were given Pitsaw licenses in Kabwe before the temporal ban are abusing the licenses by over harvesting.

The two are also reportedly  not cutting the timber according to the prescribed procedure and giving advantage to third parties not on the licenses.

The Permanent Secretary who has since instructed the Director of Forestry to revoke the licenses said the Ministry also learned that the trucks ferrying the timber to Tanzania are Containerized and the seals placed on the trucks are in the hands of drivers instead of the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) Customs officers or Clearing agents..

Ms Suba added that the documentation that accompanies the timber is also purported to come from ZRA officers in Kapiri Mposhi when it was actually given in advance of the loading of the trucks.

And Ms Suba warned against the illegal allocation of land as government would not formalize such transactions.

She said government will not seat- by and watch people allocate themselves land in the forest areas.

Ms Suba said her Ministry will give eviction orders to all the squatters in the Serenje national forest and charge them for degrading the environment.

She commended the Serenje Common Markets for Conservation (COMMACO) for the active role it is playing to protect the environment in the district.