Friday, March 11, 2011
By Agness Changala
Fri 11 Mar. 2011, 18:40 CAT
GOVERNMENT has withdrawn a commercial licence from a Chinese firm known as Fly Dragon Lumber Company until further notice for attempting to export unprocessed timber.
Tourism minister Catherine Namugala told journalists in Lusaka that the government has further blacklisted the director of the company in question from engaging in any forest-based business in Zambia.
This follows the seizure of seven consignments of timber in containers worth K63.7 million by the Forestry Department from the company for flouting timber export regulations at Chirundu border post.
The seized consignment of unprocessed timber which was destined for China is currently being kept at the Forestry office and will be auctioned according to the provisions of the law to recover the costs.
She said the ministry is also awaiting a court order for the timber to be disposed of. Namugala said the above measures have been taken to serve as a deterrent to would-be offenders.
And Namugala said the demand for timber at both local and international markets was increasing and Zambia was one of the countries in Africa that was endowed with a number of valuable timber species that were traded on the global timber market.
She said with the increased investments in the country from Asia, some of the Zambian timber products were slowly finding their markets there. Namugala expressed disappointment that despite all the clearly defined rules and regulations, some timber merchants had opted to defy the regulations for timber export by attempting to export semi-processed timber which is against the law.
She appealed to foreign companies to respect the laws of the country.
“The resources must benefit Zambians by creating new jobs for them because they are the ones who are supposed to benefit,” said Namugala.