Timber shortage hurts mines

Editor,
Did you know that Timber in Zambia is in a critical shortage to a point where the mines are now panicing about the safety of their workers.Timber in the mines is used for support services however the decision by Lungu Govt to delay giving out contracts to Zambia sawmillers has affected
1. the mines
2.0 The construction sector where the prices of timber has trippled because of very high demand for very few stocks.
3.0 More than 20,000 jobs in the sawmilling industries have been laid off following delays by ZAFFICO to issue out contracts.
4.0 The business loans have not been paid despite numerous calls.Most sawmillers risk the wrath of the bailliffs because the 2015 business year has not started.
5.0 Many people in this business depend on this business for their livelywood however the delays has caused a lot of harm than good.please tell Edgar to tell ZAFFICO MD to issue 2015 contracts.
There is no political will to give 2015 contracts to the derseving companys but because they want to have it their way.
Please  read the article below and hide my ID, i will give more information.
ZAFFICO UNNECESSARY DELAYS – RAISING TIMBER PRICES
 Over the years, they has been a trend of delays in awarding round wood contracts. One turn to wonder whether this has now become a norm or it is a habit that ZAFFICO has lamentably failed to control.
The consequences of this action no one seems to care as far as ZAFFICO is concerned. The bunch of graduates that compose ZAFFICO management has no sense of care for the consequence that comes with delayed awarding of contracts.
It is that time of the year when again round wood contracts are renewed for existing customers and also new entrants are welcomed in the business. It is an annual exercise that has a prominent feature of “Serious Delays”. The fact that ZAFFICO is a monopoly does not mean they can thrive on unbusiness acts such as denying business to the saw millers for unwarranted periods in most circumstances exceeding a month.
This time ZAFFICO  indicated that they will give contracts after the Presidential Elections somewhere around February 2015.One turns to wonder why timber production should be dependent and at the mercy of the presidential elections of our mother Zambia. It is absolutely a very lame excuse to hide in the name of elections as opposed to accepting the inefficiencies and ineffectiveness of management in this area. Surprising even after elections contracts have not come out, what is wrong with H.E Lungu?Does the government even know they are being used as an excuse for the delays? The political situation has no bearing on the award of contracts so do not make it an excuse. These delays have always been there and we demand for an improvement in the delivery of service by ZAFFICO. We do not have elections every January yet delays are there?  To them (ZAFFICO) it is fine because at whatever time they will open the season, they will be able to sell the volumes as per plan owing to demand for timber in the nation.
However, trouble comes in for the saw millers who are meant to wait for the awarding of contracts. The national economy is also affected directly and indirectly. The following are some reasons why we want ZAFFICO to improve;
1.0   During this period of waiting for contracts, there is unprecedented demand for timber forcing the equilibrium price of timber to shift upwards. The market value of timber goes up forcing consumers to buy timber at exorbitant prices. This in itself disadvantages Zambians who demand for timber at such periods. An example of current trends in timber is that the famous 50MM X 150MM X 5M is now fetching for K140 as opposed to its average price of K60.
2.0   The employment patterns turn to nose dive as many saw millers turn to lay off workers unnecessarily as they wait for new contracts. It must be noted that of about 590 old sawmillers that deal directly with ZAFFICO, 10,000 direct jobs have been created and a further 14,000 indirect jobs. It must be known that delays in the award of contracts halts the business of timber production consequently employers in the timber sector turn  lay off workers as it becomes a cost to pay workers that do nothing but wait for timber season to commence.24,000 jobs on recess as sawmillers await 2015 contracts.
3.0   ZAFFICO also turn to incur unnecessary expenses by paying employees that do nothing but wait to service customers when contracts are awarded.
4.0   These delays also causes unnecessary shortages of timber in the market causing companies whose production depend on timber and individuals that want to roof their structures to panic much and ultimately scale down on the use of timber. This scarcity is unwarranted as it is artificial.
5.0   The supply chain is negatively affected starting from the suppliers of machines and machine spares to the sawmillers, those rearing chickens(depend on sawdust), the transporters of timber, transporters of round wood, the marketeers that sell foodstuffs in the fields of round wood, the loaders, sawmill workers, banks(no transactions from sawmillers), the construction sector etc
6.0 The livelihood of the timber traders is negatively affected as there is no business of timber until ZAFFICO releases contracts.It must be noted that many business have acquired loans and without incenses from ZAFFICO, there is no business.Our fixed costs have to be incurred yet there is no business, our children need to go to school yet someone does not want to give us licenses.
The awarding of contracts on time cannot be overemphasized because it is business whose tenets must be followed. Even if you are a monopoly, it is high time you treated this as business.it is must be known today that your delays have not been helpful in reducing the cost of living for an average Zambian.it is either someone is seriously in deep sleep at ZAFFICO or the entire management is ineffective. Should we press a demand to fire management? The answer is NO because there is room for improvement which we anticipate will commence. I employ ZAFFICO to change the work culture and consider national interests as opposed to personal gains. What does it profit a nation for ZAFFICO  to delay awarding of annual contracts? Since these are annual contracts, they must run from January to December and not from February to December-you are missing a month that poses serious economical and social challenges to the nation. I hope and pray that the Board of Directors at ZAFFICO will be at hand to deliver the awarding of contracts on time and will always effectively and efficiently supervise ZAFFICO for the benefit of the nation.
I choose to remain anonymous because I would be mistreated and probably I may not even be awarded the round wood which is at their discretion. However I shall not remain quite at this decay.
Anonymous

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