TANZANIA SETS UP COMMITTEE TO CO-ORDINATE MEASURES TO CURB TIMBER SMUGGLING

DAR-ES-SALAAM, The Tanzanian government has set up an independent 12-member committee for co-ordinating measures for curbing timber smuggling, which has minimised the forestry sector's contribution to the nation's gross domestic product (GDP) for a long period.

Natural Resources and Tourism Deputy Minister Ramo Makani said here over the weekend that the team will oversee the industry's activities and advise the government on how best the sector's performance can be improved.

"We want the sector to beef up its contribution to the economy," the deputy minister said at the committee's launch.

Tanzania is the second largest country in number of plant species in Africa but has not exploited its forests to the fullest and is suffering from illegal exports of logs which deprive the country of its rightful revenues.

"It's time to reflect and set targets of protecting the forests due to its social, environmental and economic benefits. We want the forests to contribute more to the national economy," he said.

The committee, established under the Forest Act No 14, 2002, will advise the Minister on policy matters and prepare annual reports on the forest industry. The deputy minister stressed the need for strengthening forest service agencies as part of a collective approach to improve the sector's contribution. Increasing patrols and netting timber smugglers would be some of the initiative's highlights.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK