• The period given is too short.
• One cannot meet the requirements that have been listed in 30 days.
• The Ministry must consider reviewing this and increase the period for applications.
Timber Producers Association of Zambia (TPAZ) has called on Ministry of Green Economy and Environment to extend the deadline for application for Forest Concession Licenses, which was recently advertised.
Association President Charles Masange told Money FM News that the application period given is too short because and timber Producers cannot meet all the requirements that have been listed in the advert within 30 days, unless 90 days.
Mr. Masange noted that applying for Forest Concession Licenses requires a lot of money to use for administration, and meeting statutory fees and industry players have not been operating since 2018.
“The period given is too short, one cannot meet the requirements that have been listed in 30 days. May the Ministry consider reviewing this and increase the period for applications. To apply for Concession License requires a lot of money to be spent in terms of administration, and meeting statutory fees whereby since 2018, people have not been operating and exports were banned, ” Mr. Masange argued.
He said traditional timber producers have nowhere to get the money to meet the requirements in 30 days because they need to write the Environmental Impact Assessment, as well as pay Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA), hence the need to extend the application period.
“Where can the tradition timber producers get the money to meet this in 30 days. We need to travel to go to the forests and do the inventory, we need to write the Environmental Impact Assessment, how can all this be done and we need to pay ZEMA. The Minister should consider that this period is too short, we needed about 90 days for us to do this.”
“Otherwise, a lot of people will shun the adverts and wrong people will get money from wrong people and apply for licenses, which will be again a gap which will be difficult for Forestry department to fill,” he stated.
Meanwhile, Mr. Masange called on the Ministry to expedite timber audits currently taking place because there is a risk that a lot of timber which is lying in the bush will go to waste as a result of bus fires.
“After the Auditors finish auditing, the timber which they are trying to recover or protect will be destroyed by bush fires because bush fires don’t know who is an Auditor and the whole timber is going to be burnt. So our appeal is for the Ministry, the Auditors to speed up their job to ensure that Zambians don’t lose their property and the country doesn’t lose its natural resource,” Mr. Masange added.
According to an advert placed on 14th April, 2022, Ministry of Green Economy and Environment is inviting applications from interested organisations and individuals to apply for medium or small-scale Concession Licences in the identified potential concession areas across the country pursuant to the provisions of the Forests Act No. 4 of 2015 and Statutory Instrument No. 50 of 2016, and the Forest Concession License Regulations of 2016.