LUSAKA, June 7 (Xinhua) -- Stakeholders on Wednesday commended the Zambian government on its decision to reduce export excise duty on wood and wood products by more than 50 percent following an outcry.
The government announced Tuesday a reduction in the export excise duty after stakeholders expressed concern that it was too high and would make the country's timber uncompetitive in the region.
The excise duty used to be introduced this year as a way of promoting value addition.
Timber Producers Association of Zambia President Charles Masange said the association was happy with the government's decision as it will allow players who had shunned the business to resume operations.
"This is a very welcome move by the government. We are happy that the government has listened to our concerns," he told Xinhua in an interview.
He added that the move will also reduce corruption and smuggling because the increase in the excise duty had forced some traders to use under-hand methods to export their products, which was making the government lose a lot of revenue.
The government will be able to earn foreign exchange because corruption and smuggling are likely to be reduced, he added.
William Bwalya, president of the Zambia National Association of Sawmillers, also lauded the government for attending to their concerns.
He said the reduction in the export excise duty would make Zambian timber competitive in the region.