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Nkayi council warns against illegal exploitation of resources

Nkayi is endowed with prime timber among other natural resources such as Kaolin, but there is little economic development that benefits communities.

The Nkayi Rural District Council has warned private companies and other stakeholders against illegally exploiting natural resources and depriving the local authority of the much needed revenue to develop the district.

Nkayi is endowed with prime timber among other natural resources such as Kaolin, but there is little economic development that benefits communities.

Timber has been lagged for years in the district, but several communities in protected forestry areas have schools without proper infrastructure despite pupils seeing timber lagging trucks traverse the poor road network in the area.

Some of the timber is harvested close to schools that do not have adequate furniture.

On February 27, the  Nkayi district council was forced to issue a notice against the illegal exploitation of natural resources while the council received no corresponding revenues.

According to the RDC, some of the companies were evading the local authority during the preparation of environmental impact assessment studies  to launch projects via the back door.

Other offences include the harvest and trade in timber without permits, transportation or selling of firewood without permit, harvesting fruits or other forest produce without permits.

The council said it had also noted the illegal harvesting of non-timber resources prematurely, abstraction of quarry, gravel stones and pits without permit, mining and moulding brinks without permit and water abstraction from a dam without permit.

Nkayi RDC chief officer Silibele Mpofu confirmed the notice saying council by laws were being violated.

“Yes, we issued the notice as bylaws are violated on a regular basis and in some cases, due to ignorance when it comes to these laws,” Mpofu said.

“There is also the issue of arrogance as perpetrators think they can evade council officers and get away with poaching rather than obtaining permits.

“Laws are laws, and they are there for a reason. Just toe the line.”

Mpofu said penalties range from US$20 to as much as US$1000 depending on the offence while other offences attract jail sentences.

He confirmed reports that there was rampant exploitation of natural resources in the district with some companies not ploughing back into the community for development.

He, however, could not be drawn into revealing names of the companies in question.

“Some companies are legitimate, of course, though on ploughing back to communities more can still be done,” Mpofu said.

He said the most exploited or poached resources in the district were gravel, Kaolin, riversand, pitsand and timber among others.

“The introduction of bylaws will help mitigate violations. Council resource monitors across the district will monitor the utilization of resources,” Mpofu added.

“Penalties will help discourage perpetrators from breaking the law.”

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