• ZAFFICO issue of hiking prices for timber should be done gradually.
• Timber business becomes very difficult in the rainy season.
• 25 percent is too high, they can increase gradually by 10 percent.
Timber Producers Association of Zambia (TPAZ) has called on Zambia Forestry and Forest Industries Corporation (ZAFFICO) to consider increasing timber prices by 10 percent and not 25 percent.
Speaking in an interview with Money FM News, Association President Charles Masange lamented that the 25 percent hike in timber prices is too high and may negatively affect the construction sector.
Mr. Masange noted that timber business becomes very difficult in the rainy season because most people who are in construction are not building houses, therefore ZAFFICO should consider increasing the prices in the dry season and in a gradual manner.
“The ZAFFICO issue of hiking prices for timber, we are appealing to them to take it gradual. In the rain season business becomes very difficult especially for construction because most of the people who are in construction are not constructing houses. So we appeal to ZAFFICO to at least consider increasing the price in the dry season.”
“Even if they increase, they should not increase by that amount of 25 percent it’s too high, if they can increase gradually by 10 percent, the way we are appealing for Zesco tariffs,” Mr. Masange stated.
He added that there is stiff competition between imported and local timber as most of it is being imported from Tanzania and Malawi because ZAFFCO does not have stocks in its forests, and this may be the Corporation’s last year of operation in terms of selling trees until after 10 years.
“Maybe they are likely to stop selling the trees for almost 10 years because they don’t have stocks, they have to wait for the trees to grow especially in Kawambwa, and other areas because on the Copperbelt they don’t have trees which can be sold. Let them wait until after three months that is when they can increase and not 25 percent.”
“We are appealing to ZAFFICO to increase up to 10 percent so that people can gain because that is the source of income on the Copperbelt,” he added.
Efforts to get a comment from ZAFFICO Communications Manager Irene Chipili failed, as her mobile phone was unreachable.
On 17 January 2023, ZAFFICO proposed to increase the price for pine by 25% due to the increase of mainly the price of fuel, a move that has been rejected by players in the industry including Saw millers.