The Forestry Commission is owed over 200 million dollars by treasury, a situation which has hugely affected the operations of the organisation.
This was revealed when the parliamentary portfolio committee on environment and tourism during a tour of one of the organisation’s sites in Bulawayo.
The Forestry Commission’s mandate in manning the country’s forests involves research and biomass surveys, among other duties. However, the commission says it does not have adequate manpower, vehicles and equipment to fulfil its mandate.
Part of the problem is non-remittance of funds which treasury has been collecting since 2015 through the tobacco levy.
“We are owed over 200 million dollars. This is funding which we require to fulfil our duties,” said The Forestry Commission General Manager, Mr Abedinigo Marufu
The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Environment and Tourism promised to lobby for the funds to be released.
“Our forests are our life. The organisation needs that funding. It’s important considering the challenges they have,” said Concilia Chinanzavana, Chairperson of the Environment and Tourism Parliamentary Portfolio committee.
With the forestry commission’s task in the modern era requiring the use of advanced tools of the trade such as drones, GIS equipment and effective network connectivity to carry out research into new tree species, forest mapping and bio-mass surveys among other functions, it is paramount for the organisation to be well resourced.