Eastern Province permanent secretary against harvesting of timber by a Chinese company in the open forest of Sandwe area in Petauke District.

Eastern Province Permanent Secretary Emmanuel Mwamba has demanded for an immediate stop to planned harvesting of timber by a Chinese company in the open forest of Sandwe area in Petauke District.
Mr. Mwamba has requested his counterpart, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Lands, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection, Daisy Ngambi, to halt the planned activities, stating that Xue Jiang Corporation which intends to harvest Mukwa, Ndale, Mubanga and Kaimbi species of trees has failed to follow laid down procedures and regulations.
He also called on ZEMA, the Zambia Environmental Management Agency to immediately discontinue a public advertisement that is calling for a public hearing in Petauke to obtain public submissions on the intended operations of the Chinese firm in Sandwe Open Forest.
Mr. Mwamba has expressed surprise that while Minister of Lands, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection, Wilbur Simusa had issued a country wide ban on 9th November 2012, against harvesting of natural and indigenous timber, some department were considering to issue licences contrary to the spirit of the ban.
He has also expressed concern that such activities were being proposed when the issuance of timber licences remains suspended by the Ministry of Lands, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection.
The permanent secretary has further wondered how the Chinese firm issued an application to ZEMA when the law requires that due consideration should have been made to Petauke District Forestry, who should have forwarded such an application and recommendations to the Provincial Forestry Officer before an EIA, Environmental Impact Assessment process could commence.
He states that in absence of such a process, his office considers that such an action by the Chinese firm and ZEMA is illegal and should therefore be stopped.
ZEMA has announced that there will be a public hearing to take submissions about the proposal by Xue Jiang Corporation to harvest an area of 5000 hectares of Mukwa, Ndale, Mubanga and Kaimbi species of trees from Sandwe Open Forest in Chief Sandwe’s area in Petauke.
The company is expected to harvest 100m of timber per month. The hearing was scheduled to take place on Thursday 25th January at Mzumwa Basic School in Petauke District.

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