The Zambia National Association of Sawmillers (ZNAS) is seeking a court order to overturn the timber export moratorium.
In February, Lands Minister Jean Kapata imposed the ban on all timber species, including the sought-after Mukula tree. She said the move must curb illegal harvesting which leads to deforestation. Kapata said Zambia lost 276 000 hectares of forest between 2000 and 2014.
But, in his affidavit in support of a summons filed in the Lusaka High Court, ZNAS Secretary General William Bwalya argues that the move is unilateral and unjustifiable. “The decision by the minister to stop operations and conveying locally and internationally – of both plantation and indigenous timber – was not only erroneous, but procedurally irregular,” reads part of his affidavit.
Bwalya wants the court to grant ZNAS leave to apply for a judicial review of government’s decision to ban timber exports.