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Politicians frustrating efforts to grow timber industry – ZNAS

ZAMBIA National Association of Sawmillers president William Bwalya says cooperating partners in the forestry sector are frustrated by political leaders. Bwalya said the government must free the timber industry from political interference.

“I want to urge people and the government to free the timber industry from political interference, policy inconsistency and allow the sector to create wealth and decent jobs,” Bwalya said.

“So many programmes and money have been spent in this sector by cooperating partners in order to improve it, but our political leaders have frustrated these efforts.”

He feared that the timber factories in Lusaka’s Zingalume area would turn into white elephants.

“Look at the timber factories in Zingalume! But such investment will turn into white elephants, all because of political interference. Let us as stakeholders open constant dialogue with our government and policy makers in order to make progress and free the industry from underperformance,” said Bwalya, adding that ZNAS expected lands minister Jean Kapata to have an audience with the association’s executive on deforestation and job creation.

“Similar trees with timber property are only 12 per cent of the total forest cover of 2.9 billion cubic metres. At the same time, it is not every tree of the 12 per cent that can be harvested. It is only trees of a given diameter of the allowable cutting.”

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