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Illegal Mukula trade rife, says irked trader

MUKULA is being illegally harvested in Muchinga Province and smuggled out of the country through Nakonde despite the ban, a licenced trader Lick Kaona has said.

Mr Kaona said it was unfair that while others were respecting the Mukula harvest and export ban, some people were illegally benefitting from the commodity.
He said that some unscrupulous people had been taking advantage of the Zambia-Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) Mukula transit deal to export Zambian Mukula.
“What is happening now is that papers from Congo are showing that, for example 50 truckloads will pass through Zambia, when that actual number is 40 and 10 are being loaded from Matumbo near Chinsali where they join those in transit,” Mr Kaona said.
He said the trucks from DRC were made to delay in Chinsali so that those loaded from within the country could join the convoy.
Mr Kaona appealed to Government to lift the ban so that everyone could benefit.
He said Government should give amnesty to mukula dealers to allow them sell the already cut before it goes to waste.
Mr Kaona said it was unfair for a few individuals to benefit at the expense of main dealers whose capital had not been recovered due to the ban.
He said there were a lot of Mukula logs lying around in the bush that could bring revenue for Government if traders were allowed to export and pay taxes.
“When the Mukula trade was at its peak a lot of people sold their assets, some got loans so that they could invest in Mukula trade.
“However, their investment has been stuck in the bush after Government abruptly banned all Mukula dealings. It is therefore in this vein that we appeal to Government to allow us sell the logs and contribute to economic growth,” Mr Kaona said.

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