Nyandarua Governor Francis Kimemia has urged the government to withdraw the moratorium on tree harvesting in all public and community forests.
The Governor said that many residents in Nyandarua rely on timber products and tree business for survival and the ban on logging had adversely affected them.
He however added that the withdrawal of the ban should be carefully done to ensure the forest cover keeps on increasing despite logging.
Kimemia at the same time called for the crafting of a legal framework that will ensure that counties benefit directly from revenue derived from forestry resources.
He noted that since forestry was a resource for both levels of government, counties should be able to reap from the enormous resources that come from the natural resources within their jurisdiction as they are actively involved in their protection.
“Development and implementation of the joint inspections procedure with Council of Governors and implementation as Counties are a step in the right direction.
However, I call on Kenya Forestry Service (KFS) to work closely with the respective department in the actual transfer of these functions so that the counties can also reap from these resources,” said the Governor. Kimemia made the remarks when witnessing the signing of the Transition Implementation Plans (TIPs) between the county and the national government in an event presided over by Chief conservator of forests Julius Kamau.
Reacting to Governor’s sentiments on logging Chief Conservator Kamau said that the moratorium was partially lifted last year by the government to allow harvesting of about 5000 hectares of mature and over mature plantations.
“We shall consider and be sensitive on how we perform that exercise to ensure it is performed in a transparent and effective manner and of course in accordance with the procurement act that govern us as a country,” clarified Kamau
The government imposed a moratorium on logging in public and community forests in 2018. The moratorium drew criticism from sawmillers and timber products merchants who complained it had caused massive job losses.
Last year the government extended the ban for a year further slowing the activities of sawmillers across the country.
By Antony Mwangi