Tue, 17 May 2022

LUSAKA, May 11 (Xinhua) -- Zambia has lifted the suspension of issuance of timber export permits, with 55 licenses issued so far, a government official said Wednesday.

John Msimuko, the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Green Economy and Environment, said the issuance of the timber export permits, which was suspended in 2017, was lifted last month following an audit of the issuance process.

The 55 permits were issued out of a total of 93 applications received, the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation, the state broadcaster, quoted him as saying.

He, however, said that under the new system the forestry department will be undertaking inspections to verify that each applicant had timber before an export permit could be issued. He said reviews and audits conducted by the ministry have revealed that in the past some people acquired timber export permits even though they did not have the timber to export.

The official has since urged applicants for timber export permits to cooperate with forestry department officials and allow inspection of their wood, stressing that the inspection will help the department quicken the issuance of permits, establish the source of the timber and ascertain whether it was legally harvested.

According to him, the ministry was committed to quickening the process of issuing permits to ensure that businesses and livelihoods that depended on timber harvesting, processing and export were not negatively affected.

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