Lungu orders arrest of illegal timber traders

Sat, 21 Jan 2017 13:38:47 +0000


PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu has ordered that traders involved in illegal extraction of timber and other forestry-related activities should be arrested.

The Head of State said he was aware that there was a lot of illegal harvesting of timber across the country, resulting in reduced forest cover.

And President Lungu has expressed sadness that between 2000 and 2014 Zambia lost an average of 276,021 hectares of forests per year.

President Lungu said this yesterday at the national tree planting ceremony at Kabulonga Girls Secondary School in Lusaka which was attended by former president Rupiah Banda, PF deputy secretary general Mumbi Phiri, Cabinet ministers, members of the diplomatic corps and senior Government officials.

The tree planting ceremony was held under the theme “Advancing the role of natural regeneration in forest restoration.”

President Lungu directed Minister of Lands and Natural Resources Jean Kapata to ensure that all timber extraction and other forestry-related activities were conducted within the provisions of the Forests Act of 2015.

“Perpetrators of illegal forestry-related activities must be brought to book,” President Lungu said.

The Head of State said it was evident that the various interventions that Government was putting in place to mitigate deforestation were cross-cutting among ministries, departments and other State agencies.

“We, therefore, need to strengthen coordination and enhance synergies between all relevant Government institutions and agencies to curb the rampant illegal activities.

“At this point, I cannot ignore the important role of traditional leaders and the private sector in forest management. Our traditional leaders should assist Government in mobilising communities to actively participate in forestry activities,” he said.

President Lungu said the private sector should also take advantage of the enabling policy and legislation in the forestry sector to invest in both natural forest management and plantation establishment.

He said the Patriotic Front (PF) government would continue to promote mining and infrastructure development.

President Lungu however said that even as Government developed the mining and infrastructure sectors, it shall take into account the impact that such developments had on the forests and the environment in general.

“My Government will ensure that comprehensive environmental risk strategies are, as much as possible, incorporated in mining and other infrastructure projects to balance development and conservation.

“Let me underscore the need for taking keen interest in environmental protection by planting trees at least one tree every year,” he said.

And Ms Kapata said her ministry had so far raised more than 500,000 seedlings of different species across the country towards implementation of the tree planting programme for the 2016/2017 season.

Ms Kapata said all the provinces had raised adequate seedlings to be planted in designated areas.

“Going forward, it is our intention to be planting 20 hectares each year in every district. I want to encourage all Zambians to desist from wanton destruction and encroachment of our forests and take interest in planting trees in our backyards and farms,” Ms Kapata said.


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