The failure by the authorities to interrogate the problems within the industry shows that there is a lot being hidden that is benefitting a few criminals – most likely without the knowledge of President Robert Mugabe.
The reported $11.3 million PG loss is a very sad development that has been triggered by lack of ministerial and presidential intervention at the early stages of the corruption in the industry and timber trading disparities.
The failure by the responsible authorities to properly control the harvesting, distribution and marketing of timber remains of major concern for the whole nation especially, those working in the industry who are now under threat of losing their jobs due to the stinking corruption.
Mugabe must order an investigation into the corruption that is enveloping the timber industry whereby some chief executives of state-owned timber companies have chosen to starve the workers and buy luxury cars for ministers and relatives.
Timber is now being channelled into the informal sector during the night and the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority is losing thousands if not millions of dollars because of a scam by Ministry of Environment officials who are working in cahoots with two prominent timber companies in the eastern highlands.
The furniture industry has virtually closed down and a number of timber companies that used to employ thousands of employees are contemplating filing for liquidation. Some are selling assets to pay off workers who are being cheated in the process.
Gershom Pasi should find strategies to collect lost revenue from informal timber merchants who are selling timber under trees hiding behind politics.
Cabinet should tackle the crisis – unless of course the informal sector is being protected by the ZIMRA Commissioner General under instructions of the president.
The formal sector that periodically and timeously pays tax to government is currently being forced to compete with the informal sector that does not pay tax and has no capacity to employ some of the millions of unemployed citizens. – SAD CITIZEN, ChimanimaniPost published in: Letters to the Editor