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Africa   More than 370,000 hectares of forests are being cut every year

Tanzania considers tax on charcoal to save forests

Tanzania charcoalTanzania is considering putting a tax on charcoal with the aim of discouraging the use of the fuel, which is a big source of energy for cooking but also a major contributor to deforestation.

Officials say they believe making charcoal more expensive would significantly reduce demand for it and cut runaway tree felling in the east African nation, All Africa reports.

READ MORE Tanzania to start power exports to its neighbors in 2015

Justus Ntalikwa, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Energy and Minerals, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation that the government hopes to present a bill in the next parliament in February to put in place the levy, with funds raised going to finance reforestation activities in district councils.

"The idea is to reduce destruction of forests," Ntalikwa said. However, putting such a levy in place may be a complicated process because it involves a range of authorities, he said.

Under the government plan, anyone who sells charcoal within one of the country's districts or exports charcoal from it would pay a tax of about 30,000 Tanzanian shillings (about $11) on each 90 kg bag of the fuel.

The proposed tax, which will be subject to parliamentary approval, would be payable at checkpoints set up in each district.

In Tanzania, more than 370,000 hectares (915,000 acres) of forests are being cut every year, a significant portion of it for fuel, according to Tanzania Forests Services Agency, a government agency responsible for monitoring the country's forestry activities.

Read the original story here.




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