By BUUMBA CHIMBULU
THE Zambia Forestry and Forest Industries Corporation Limited (ZAFFICO) must publish its revenue collected from exporting Mukula logs for the sake of transparency, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have demanded.
According to the CSOs, the current status involving the exportation of Mukula logs was not convincing.
ActionAid Zambia and the Centre for Trade Policy and Development (CTPD) also demanded an immediate investigations into who was involved in the Mukula trade.
“With regards to revenue through taxation we are afraid that due to the poor management of the sector, this may turn out to be a missed opportunity for the country to cash in and our local business players to raise some income,
“The recent incident has been disappointing and shameful; we have seen ZAFFICO and the Ministry of Defence coming to the defence of what has been perceived as illegal transactions. We are not 100 percent convinced this is genuine defence but we strongly suspect that these institutions are trying to cover up,” they said.
In a joint statement, the CSOs observed that the local people who had protected the Mukula tree for about 80 years before reaching full maturity were left with nothing apart from the consequence of deforestation.
The two said Government could not even build a market for the women and young people to decently conduct their business and yet the natural resource was coming from their communities.
“Why have the law enforcement agencies been inactive in investigating who might be at the centre of this scandal in our country? As a matter of transparency can ZAFFICO publish its revenue from Mukula tree since it is the one mandated to dispose of confiscate Mukula trees?
“Why should we be pleading with international lending institutions such as the International Monetary Fund when we could raise these resources on our own locally? We challenge government to come out clean around the Mukula business,” they said.
The CSOs said Zambia should not continue to make rules and regulations that were aimed at duping the masses while the few connected to the powers that be enrich themselves at the expense of the majority poor.
They said Zambia was endowed with rich natural resources that if well managed would benefit the country and reduce the high poverty levels.