National Assembly roots for forest logging ban lifted
Members of the National Assembly want the ban on forest logging lifted. The MPs, who sit on the Environment and Natural Resources committee, said lifting the ban would increase the Kenya Forest Service Appropriation In Aid (revenue generated by the service ) as well as collect the funds to boost diminishing forest cover.
In a report tabled in the House, the MPs said the funds collected will also help carry out operations within the service rather than fully rely on the exchequer.
The committee regretted that Kenya Forest Service (KFS) had not been compensated for the foregone Appropriation In Aid (A-I-A), which was mostly for payment of salaries.
“Lift the ban on forest logging to increase the forest service’s A-I-A and to collect the funds to restore degraded forest areas,” the report said in part.
According to the MPs ageing trees with a lifespan of between 25 and 30 years were dying and wasting away in the forest.
Consequently, the MPs also want the Ministry of Environment and Forestry to recruit 1,500 forest rangers to replace 419 officers who have exited the service for effective forest protection and conservation.
According to the committee, KFS is understaffed as per the international recommendation ratio of forest ranger to the forest area.
Since the ban, the cost of construction has gone up, with timber and poles becoming scarce and thus more expensive.
Environment Cabinet secretary Keriako Tobiko banned logging in public forests on November 24, 2018 and extended the ban last November, arguing the extension would facilitate the rehabilitation of forests.
He said the move was to pave way for a total overhaul of KFS management structure and processes, curb corruption and enhancing its effectiveness.
The moratorium on logging was put in place in February last year following a public outcry over illegal logging that was blamed for the diminishing water levels in the country’s key rivers.