Saw-millers calls on Govt to reverse Mukula trading policy

 Saw-millers calls on Govt to reverse Mukula trading policy
By NCHIMUNYA MIYOBA
The Zambia National Association for Saw-millers (ZNAS) have asked Government to reverse the current trading  policies of Mukula and other timber  species to enable more local Saw-millers to grow their businesses and  contribute to the economy.
And the association said government should find ways to control the pricing of Mukula to cut down on the perception that Chinese Nationals are the main buyers in the industry.
Speaking to the Media in Kitwe today, ZNAS  Acting president James Mulenga said  there is need for private partnerships  in industry to help local Sawmillers grow their businesses hence reducing unemployment in communities.
”  Government needs to come up with measures in collaboration with us to control timber prices. This will help our members to grow so that Chinese nationals who are the main buyers  should not take advantage of our people,” he said.
Mr Mulenga said  reducing the prices of round wood will help saw-millers to afford buying the commodity and help sustain their businesses thereby reducing the cost of doing business adding this move will help local millers to favorably compete in the market.
Mr Mulenga said members are finding it difficult to do business as foreign timber brought from Tanzania and Malawi  is being sold at cheap price disadvantaging the local timber which is pegged at a  higher production cost further stating that reduction in production cost will only be realized if government considers giving more licenses to the locals.
Mr Mulenga said it’s disappointing that the decision taken previous government and ZAFFICO on exporting Mukula and rosewood was as low as 600 USD per tonne when the association had negotiated 4800 USD per tonne.

The Independent Observer

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John Sakala is a Journalist yearning for independent journalism