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CEJ calls for increased PPPs in forestry sector

• Public-Private Partnerships will allow large scale government projects in the forestry sector.
• The development would further combine private sector technology with public sector incentives.
• ZESCO bid for importation of wooden poles is a wake- up call on Zambia to scale up investment in the forest sector.

Centre for Environment Justice (CEJ) has urged Government to increase the availability of Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) in the forestry sector to increase investment.
In a statement, Organization Head of Research Freeman Mubanga said Public-Private Partnerships will allow large scale government projects in the forestry sector as witnessed in other countries.
Mr. Mubanga stated that the development would further combine private sector technology with public sector incentives to complete work on time and within budget.
He added that the recent controversial ZESCO bid for importation of wooden power line poles is a wake- up call on Zambia to scale up investment in the forest sector, adding that it is pointless to complain that no foreign company must be involved in bidding when Zambia has failed to meet demand.
“We need to wake up and put in more resources, we need to sharpen our investment in the forestry sector so that we can cut down on certain expenses that we can manage as a country on our own. Zesco is trying to supply electricity and there are people that have been waiting for more than three years.”
“As a nation, what we need to take away from this point is that it is a learning point and it is a challenge, and how we are going to respond to this challenge is that we are going to invest in the forestry sector so that moving forward some of these challenges will be unheard of,” Mr. Mubanga stated.
Mr. Mubanga noted that some local suppliers have been importing poles from the same countries that ZESCO has now engaged which entails that Government has cut out middle men.
Recently, ZESCO Limited Board Chairperson Vickson N’cube said the company opted to engage foreign firms for the supply of wooden poles because Zambian companies do not have adequate capacity to meet the demand.

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