By PETER SICHALI
GOVERNMENT should “selectively” lift the ban on the sale of Mukula to enable those with stocks to realize some tangible value before it goes to waste, a Mukula dealer Willard Kapila has said.
Mr Kapila has appealed to President Edgar Lungu to intervene so that dealers can be allowed to sale the logs in their possession.
Some Mukula dealers, he said were given licences before the ban on sale was imposed by the Government, and as a result the already harvested Mukula logs were losing value,”The harvested Mukula is slowly losing value and Government will not benefit anything therefore we should be allowed to sell and pay taxes,” Mr Kapila said.
Mr Kapila who is also a license holder said there were a lot of Mukula logs that have been lying idle in the bush that may bring revenue to government through ZAFFICO if an amnesty is given to dealers including those without licenses.
“When the Mukula trade was at peak a lot of people sold their assets, some got loans so to invest in Mukula and their investment has been stuck in the bush after government abruptly banned all Mukula dealings , it is therefore in this vein that we appeal for an amnesty to allow us sell the logs to ZAFFICO at a reasonable price so that we recover our money, “ Mr Kapila said.
Mr Mukula said even those that duly acquired production and conveyance licenses at huge cost were also affected by the decision hence the need for an amnesty.
Mr Kapila said ZAFFICO has never been to some areas in Muchinga since government’s announcement that it will be buying Mukula from dealers.
He said the price offered by ZAFFICO is not cost reflective hence the need to increase the price.
“Government told us that it will be buying Mukula through ZAFFICO but we have never seen them here in Isoka , Mafinga or Nakonde and I hear they are offering K30,000 for a truck load which is not an attractive price,” he said.
Mr Kapila said a three months amnesty will save people from going into depression and premature deaths.
“So far three of our colleagues have died due to depression after government abruptly banned Mukula dealing because some were owing Chinese thousands of kwachas and could not pay back,” Mr Kapila said.
Mr Kapila said the Mukula logs laying in the bush could contribute to the national treasury if government can give dealers a three months amnesty to sell the Mukula.
Mr Kapila said government should also relook at the procedure of selling Mukula to Zaffico. He said the current process was too tedious and maybe costly to both ZAFFICO and the dealer