Tanzania loses 90bn/- from forest money

Tanzania is still losing $58 million (Sh92.8 billion) forest revenue annually due to mismanagement, according to latest Traffic report.

Traffic -- the wildlife trade monitoring network -- is a joint project of Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) and International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) which deals with trade on endangered species of fauna and flora.

Presenting a paper during the consultative seminar on Sustainable Land Use, Investment and Forest Management, a director of Lawyers Environmental Action Team (Leat), Dr Rugemeleza Nshala, said at the weekend that Traffic surveys show that Tanzania has been losing at least $58 million every year as a result of dubious deals in forest trade and improper forest management.

“The country is losing huge forest revenue due to a number of factors including outdated forest laws, lack of forest management plans in many regions and lack of value addition in forest harvesting, production and trading,” said Dr Nshala in the seminar organised by an NGO for land rights, Haki Ardhi.

He quoted the report of Controller and Auditor General (CAG) of 2012/13 which shows that only four per cent of the forest cover in the country has forest management plan while 96 per cent do not have the plans.

“Only five regions, Coast, Dar es Salaam, Mwanza, Tabora and Lindi have a concrete system of collecting forest revenue. Other regions are not covered hence giving loopholes for forest revenue losses,” said Dr Nshala.

He also said in terms of value chain study done by Traffic in 2007 indicated that the government had earned only $330 per cubic metre of exported log, while the importing country like Vietnam had earned $1,500 per cubic metre of log after processing in the home country.

Former director of forest in the ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism, Dr Kilahama Felicin Kilahama, said that 1.3 million hectares of forest are not owned by anybody out of 33.4 million hectares in the country.

“We have enough natural resources but our systems of managing them is bad. We have to rectify this trend,” said Dr Kilahama who also represents the country in the international forest management committee.

For his part, the HakiArdhi director, Mr Yefred Myenzi, said that there was a need for stakeholders on land rights to blow the common agenda for redressing the bad trend in mismanagement of forest resources so that the present and future generation gains from such natural wealth.

According to recent report of Tanzania Forest Conservation Group (TFCG), the combined value of forest goods and services has been estimated at $2.2 billion (Sh3.5 trillion) which is equivalent to 20 per cent of the country’s GDP (pegged at 2006 prices).
Source: The Citizen, reported by Ludger Kasumuni from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
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