Govt now sole auc­tion­eer of Mukula tree - Ka­p­ata

Daily Nation Newspaper - - FRONT PAGE - By NA­TION RE­PORTER

GOV­ERN­MENT will now be the sole auc­tion­eer of the Mukula tree for the ben­e­fit of Zam­bians, says Min­is­ter of Lands and Nat­u­ral Re­sources Jean Ka­p­ata.

Ms. Ka­p­ata said the ban on the sale of the Mukula tree by the pri­vate sec­tor would not be lifted but in­stead the gov­ern­ment would own the en­tire auc­tion­ing process on be­half of the peo­ple.

The min­is­ter made the state­ment in the for­mer Pol­ish cap­i­tal of Krakow shortly be­fore her re­turn to Lusaka.

She was in Poland to at­tend the Con­fer­ence of Par­ties, oth­er­wise known as COP24, a UN- or­gan­ised meet­ing called to ne­go­ti­ate guide­lines for the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the 2015 Paris Agree­ment on cli­mate change.

“Gov­ern­ment will as­sume sole own­er­ship of the har­vest of the Mukula tree but will in­vite any­one to come and bid at a pub­licly held auc­tion sale and the pro­ceeds will go straight into con­trol 99, a gov­ern­ment bank ac­count” Ms. Ka­p­ata says.

The min­is­ter said the gov­ern­ment of Pres­i­dent Edgar Lungu was fully aware of the dis­cus­sions and in­ter­est around the Mukula tree and had there­fore taken that po­si­tion as the best way to spread the ben­e­fits of this nat­u­ral re­source across Zam­bia.

Ms. Ka­p­ata said the Mukula tree was too valu­able to be left to a small part of the pop­u­la­tion to reap the ben­e­fits.

The Zam­bian gov­ern­ment had es­tab­lished a com­mit­tee com­pris­ing se­lected min­istries, the House of Chiefs and the Zam­bia Rev­enue Au­thor­ity to look into the op­er­a­tional­i­sa­tion of the pol­icy on the sale of the Mukula tree.

Ms Ka­p­ata ob­served that since the ban was im­posed on the har­vest­ing of the Mukula tree, there had been a sig­nif­i­cant drop in re­ports of il­le­gal deal­ings.

For those deal­ing in other types of wood such as rose­wood, Ms. Ka­p­ata said Gov­ern­ment was en­cour­ag­ing value ad­di­tion as op­posed to the sale of raw ma­te­ri­als.

“We do not want to be im­port­ing fin­ished wood prod­ucts such as fur­ni­ture when this can be done e in our coun­try and cre­ate jobs for our peo­ple,” said the min­is­ter

Zam­bians were be­ing en­cour­aged to open com­pa­nies in dif­fer­ent prov­inces for pur­poses of work­ing in the wood sec­tor.

Au­thor­i­ties ex­pected the modal­i­ties to be worked out soon so that Zam­bians may be­gin to en­joy the ben­e­fits aris­ing from their nat­u­ral re­sources.

Ex­perts said the tree, used for sev­eral pur­poses around the world, in­clud­ing the man­u­fac­ture of fur­ni­ture and medicine, grew in abun­dance in sev­eral parts of Zam­bia.

In most in­stances, the ex­perts said, where one big Mukula tree stood, there was nor­mally about five small ones grow­ing in close prox­im­ity. The tree took sev­eral decades to fully ma­ture.

Ms Ka­p­ata

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