Funding to Forestry Department reduces in two years

The Forestry Department in Eastern Province has seen its budgetary allocation reducing in the last two years.
Provincial Forestry Officer, Sylvester Siame says that in 2014, the budget reduced by 6.3 per cent while this year it has reduced by 4.8 per cent.
He was speaking during a live radio programme dubbed, “Budget Tracking” on Breeze FM this morning.
Mr. Siame explained that in 2013, the department was allocated about 634,000 Kwacha, in 2014 it was allocated about 594,000 while this year, the amount reduced further to about 566,000 Kwacha.
He says that the department was also affected by inconsistence release of money, stating that about 72 per cent of funds allocated under the 2014 National Budget were released.
Mr. Siame also explained that from this year’s budget of 566,343 Kwacha, the department has so far received only 55,000 Kwacha for office administration and utilities.
He however, indicated that the department has been allocated one million Kwacha additional funding from USAID and that so far each district had received about 35,000 Kwacha.
Meanwhile Chipata and Nyakatokoli Forests in Mambwe district have been the most affected by encroachment.
Mr. Siame says that his department has so far issued eviction notices to squatters at Nyakatokoli Forest while in Chipata the department has engaged Chipata Municipal Council to resolve the problem.
He admitted that it was a great challenge to sort out the problem at Chipata Forest but hoped that an amicable solution will be found to protect the forest.
Mr. Siame noted that from the 77 national and local forests in Eastern Province, those close to settlements were the most affected to issues of encroachment.
And Mr. Siame says that the department has over 1,000 logs of Mukula confiscated from illegal traders across the province.
He says that the department has not yet establishment what other purpose Mukula is being used for apart from production of high quality furniture.

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