Talent Hwari Herald Reporter
Government yesterday announced the appointment of new Forestry Commission board members tasked to spearhead efforts to turn around the parastatal in the coming three years.
The commission’s new board will be chaired by Professor Amon Murwira, head of the University of Zimbabwe Geography and Environmental Science department.
Other members include Dr Ellen Gwaradzimba, an academic, Dr Daniel Sithole (industrialist), Mr Marius Dzinoreva, a director in the Ministry of Lands and Rural Resettlement, Mr Wilfred Motsi, an Environment, Water and Climate ministry representative and a Ms N Matshe.
Their appointment follows the dissolution of the previous board of commissioners last year.
“These selected individuals are knowledgeable in the complex forestry related issues and I am confident that they have the capacity to unlock value from our forestry resources,” said Minister of Environment, Water and Climate Cde Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri while announcing the board.
“This complex and mammoth mandate requires a visionary and competent board to give Forestry Commission the much needed turnaround and strategic direction for the next three years.”
Minister Muchinguri said they were considering appointing six more members to strengthen the operations of the commission.
The appointment of the board members comes at a time the forestry sector was facing numerous challenges that included reduced revenue inflows, rampant deforestation, land degradation, soil erosion, illegal mining, uncontrolled fires, poaching and illegal settlements on State gazetted forests.
“These challenges have been further worsened by the current reduced revenues which the sector and specifically the Forestry Commission are faced with,” Minister Muchinguri-Kashiri said.
“This has negatively affected the ability of the parastatal to carry out its mandate.”
The incoming board was tasked with turning around fruit production and ensure that the country would have 25 million fruit tree seedlings in the short-term.
The new board members were also mandated to improve revenue generation, address drivers of deforestation, veld fires, payment of salaries and addressing workers’ grievances, as well as restructuring the Forestry Commission.
Forestry Commission has a salary backlog of more than five months.