Pit sawyers are protesting the three months ban on timber harvesting saying they were not consulted by the environment ministry before the decision was taken.
Pit sawyers are protesting the three months ban on timber harvesting announced by government saying they were not consulted before the decision was taken. Early this month, Water and Environment minister Maria Mutagamba declared a three months ban on timber harvesting. She gave pit sawyers a period of two weeks that ended on Tuesday, to move all harvested timber from the forest to a central point for transportation to selling points.
Mutagamba said the ban was intended to address the serious depletion of the forest resource in the country. But, the pit sawyers argue that the suspension of their activities is illegal because government did not consult all the stakeholders before enforcing the ban. Julius Mutahunga, an official of Rock Investment that is licensed to harvest trees in Kampala says the ban is unfair unless government is willing to compensate them for the loss of business over the next three months.
He says that many Ugandans depend on forests for survival adding that, the ban could have disastrous effects. He appeals to relevant authorities to consider lifting the ban as government finds solutions to the chronic environment degradation. Hadijja Nazziwa, proprietor of Janat timber dealers in Ndeeba wonders how Mutagamba decided to announce the ban without consulting key players in the industry.
She advises government to consider lifting the ban before more damage is caused. Grace Bbaale, an official from Peacock investments says that the ban is likely to affect most pit sawyers because most of them operate on bank loans. Bbaale blames government for favoring foreign investors which has led to untold environmental degradation.
But Margaret Adata, assistant Commissioner Forestry says the protests are not healthy. Adata says that government cannot seat back and watches the depletion of resources by a few selfish individuals at the expense of the future generation. He says that government is determined to get rid of illegal timber harvesters and charcoal burners amongst others.