The Parliamentary Committee on Natural Resources and Climate Change says it will push for the review of the Forestry Act of 1997 in a bid to curb corruption that it is rampant in the timber business in the country.
The committee chairperson Werani Chilenga said on Wednesday that a lot of timber from Malawi has found its way to Tanzania, Mozambique and most parts of East Africa to corruption.
Government through the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Natural Resources suspended timber harvesting from October 2016 to April 2017 in Chikangawa and other forests in the country in a bid to reduce rising cases of deforestation.
In June 2016, government announced that it has banned the issuance of timber licenses as one way of protecting the country’s forests reserves.
This came at a time most forest reserves in the country have been depleted for timber, firewood and charcoal.
During the 2015/16 fiscal year, government awarded 36 timber export licences and 1 000 export permits to Raiply Malawi, Vizara Timber Plantation and various individuals for exporting timber products, according to Malawi Government Annual Report 2016.
According to the report, by April 2016, issuance of export licenses and permits generated revenue amounting toK6.9 million, down from K8.5 million in 2015, representing an 18 percent decrease.
“But Malawi is losing billions of kwachas in the timber business because of the loopholes in the Act, that he said needs to be reviewed,” said Chilenga. n