MPs root for sustainable use of forests

Lawmakers have reiterated the need for sustainable use of forests in the country. The MPs were, on Monday, approving the revised 2005 Bill related to forestry, paving way for it to be scrutinised by the Senate.
Logging activities.  The New Times/ File.
Logging activities. The New Times/ File.

Lawmakers have reiterated the need for sustainable use of forests in the country.

The MPs were, on Monday, approving the revised 2005 Bill related to forestry, paving way for it to be scrutinised by the Senate.

Among articles amended was Article 56, which previously required any person selling forest products whether as raw or finished material to have a permit granted by a district.

MP Adolphe Bazatoha, the chairperson of the standing Committee on Agriculture, Livestock and Environment, said the clause was revised and “any person” replaced with “a businessperson who is a known retailer of such products.”

This means ‘strangers’ in the trade will be dealing illegally.

The Bill says forest vegetal material living or dead when entering in the country shall be subject to prior authorisation in writing.

MP Agnes Mukazibera said the control mechanism should be such that everything is done before entry, not after entry.

“There will be scenarios where one could put a leaf or any other element in a bag and sneak it into a country,” he warned.

Shortly after the session, Natural Resources minister Stanislas Kamanzi told The New Times that the Bill streamlines the new national forestry policy in an updated regulatory framework, where conscious attention is put on dual role of forests: protecting and sustaining the environment, and for economic development.

Kamanzi said: “The new Bill takes on new global challenges that relate to forestry, including climate change. The bill adapts to new national legal instruments and institutional arrangements established after the promulgation of the old Forest Law.”

The Bill has a provision on punitive measures for offenders, who risk an administrative fine of Rwf100,000 to Rwf1m.

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