The Zambian government has embarked on a program of collecting all timber illegally harvested which has been lying idle across the country following a ban on timber exports in 2021, a senior official said Tuesday.
Collins Nzovu, the minister of Green Economy and Environment, said the defense forces have been engaged to identify and collect all illegally harvested timber laying across the country, with the exercise expected to run from Nov. 1 to Nov. 20, 2023.
He said once the collection exercise has been completed, the ministry will engage the director of public prosecution to have the timber forfeited to the state and later have it auctioned.
“The past five years have recorded heightened illegalities in the harvest, trade and export of high-value indigenous trees. These illegalities in the timber sub-sector have caused government to continue losing revenue through fraudulent sales, wrong declarations and smuggling of various illegally harvested timber tree species,” he said in a statement.
According to him, addressing the illegalities will in the long term benefit the timber loggers, merchants and local communities.