Centre for Environment Justice (CEJ) has commended Cabinet for approving in principle, the introduction of a Bill in Parliament to amend the Forests Act No. 4 of 2015.
CEJ Head of Research Freeman Mubanga says it is important to note that the Bill will provide for stiffer penalties, strengthen enforcement mechanisms and establish procedures for the gazeting, excision and bring the law in line with new and emerging issues such as Forest Carbon Stock Management.
President Hakainde Hichilema called for the 12th Cabinet Meeting in the Year 2022 on 13th June, to discuss policy and legislative issues aimed at facilitating the general development of the country at which Cabinet was of the view that the current Forests Act of 2015 is weak regarding penalties against offenders.
Mr. Mubanga agreed with Cabinet’s view that the weak law had continued to pose enforcement challenges and perpetuated illegal activities in the forests with an observed increase in repeat offenders.
He echoed Government’s position that it is time to protect forest natural resources especially for selected high value endangered tree species such as Mukula, Rosewood, Teak and Mukwa so that the citizens benefit from such, through value addition going forward.
The CEJ Head of Research reaffirmed his organization’s commitment to supporting government’s efforts in promoting sustainable use of forests and forestry resources.