LUSAKA, Nov. 17 (Xinhua) -- The Zambian government on Friday extended an operation meant to collect timber illegally harvested, which has been lying idle across the country, from 20 days to 60 days.
Last month, the government announced the operation to collect the timber, which has been lying idle following a ban on timber exports in 2021. The operation was originally expected to run from Nov. 1 to 20.
Collins Nzovu, the minister of Green Economy and Environment, however, said the operation has been extended to Dec. 30 to allow the collection of all timber after challenges emerged. He said the officers faced challenges during the collection exercise such as heavy rainfall and poor road network.
"This extension will allow the officers to successfully complete the task. I am confident that the officers will endeavor to complete the assignment ahead of this extended deadline," he told reporters during a press briefing.
A total of 13,798 logs out of the expected 31,456 logs of timber lying idle in various parts of the country have so far been collected, said the official, adding that in the course of conducting the exercises, officers have also unearthed illegalities, resulting in the discovery of semi-processed timber stockpiled in some locations.