…As Minister Nvozu says charcoal is not alternative during current energy deficit

Lusaka, Saturday, 4th April, 2024 – The Ministry of Green Economy and Environment through the Forestry Department in collaboration with the Zambia Police Service and COMACO have conducted an on the spot inspections in the early hours of today to check on compliance levels on charcoal ban.

Minister of Green Economy and Environment Hon. Eng. Collins Nzovu. MP, Permanent Secretary Dr. Douty Chibamba, Forestry Department Director Mr. Sitwala Wamunyima and officials from the Forestry Department, the Zambia Police Service and COMACO carried out an operation on Mumbwa Road and impounded 6 trucks carrying charcoal and 2 carrying timber.

After the operation, Hon. Eng Nzovu noted that some of the people trading in charcoal were complying with the ban as there were reduced trucks that could be seen on Mumbwa Road.

The Honourable Minister last month directed the Director Forestry to immediately stop the issuance of Cord Wood Permits for the production of charcoal in Itezhi- tezhi, Mumbwa and Shibuyunji Districts.

During the on the spot inspection today, Hon. Nzovu warned Forestry officers that had continued issuing permits despite the ban, and urged them to immediately stop.

“One of the trucks you are seeing here has a valid permit, which was issued after the ban. We want to send a very strong warning that our officers will be disciplined if they don’t follow the ban. There is a ban on charcoal production right now, every Forester must obey this ban. I have just directed the Director Forestry to discipline officers who are not following the ban,” he said.

Hon. Nzovu noted that officers from other districts like Chibombo District were issuing cord wood permits and warned that they too would be punished.

The Honourable Minister reminded Zambians that the penalties when a truck is found full with charcoal go as high as K15,000 fine, confiscation of the charcoal, and the commodity is later auctioned. He said this would be a double loss for the culprits.

He encouraged every Zambian to comply with the ban.

“We are very determined to enforce this ban. We don’t believe charcoal is the alternative to the energy deficit we are currently experiencing. We are currently experiencing drought because of severe deforestation so we cant allow charcoal production to go ahead unregulated,” he said.

He said Government is promoting the use of Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG) which is available, safe and affordable.

Hon. Nzovu said gas is an alternative and cost effective source of energy and encouraged Zambians to look at these alternative sources.

“We should put charcoal aside and start looking for other solutions. We want to promote solar use. Consequences of continuing using charcoal are severe,” he said.

He said the on spot operations will go on and forestry officers will also be available at every entry point.

He said the impounded charcoal will be confiscated and the owners fined.

The Honourable Minister said Government was looking for more stringent fines, fees and possibilities of auctioning the vessels carrying the charcoal as a deterrent measure.


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