Sawmillers are appealing to government to lift the Mukula trade ban, but government is refusing to budge.
Minister of Lands and Natural Resources Jean Kapata said government will continue to protect the mukula tree as a valuable national resource. The minister warned that security wings are still on alert to enforce the ban.
Zambia National Association of Sawmillers (ZNAS) president William Bwalya said the ban is unfair and placed sawmillers in dire straits.
“Stopping people with valid concessions license from harvesting, processing and trading is unjust,” Bwalya said.
He said some traders paid for harvesting rights, and rightfully should be allowed to complete existing transactions.
But Kapata said government will only allow the export of finished products as a way of stimulating the local industry.
Meanwhile, mystery surrounded the impounding and delayed release of trucks which were seized. Officials at Kafue weighbridge in Lusaka province could not say whether the trucks were released and referred all queries to the Ministry of Lands in Lusaka.
Foreign and local traders whose trucks were seized, complain about the heavy financial losses they suffered as a result of the delay in releasing the trucks.