The Nigerian government has “conditionally” lifted the export prohibition on wood and charcoal.
The Minister of Environment, Mohammed Abdullahi, made the statement on Thursday in Abuja following a meeting with timber and afforestation industry stakeholders.
He noted that many companies have been adversely affected by the restriction and that the decision was made to encourage private sector and individual investment in afforestation.
The minister warned that severe actions would be taken by the government to end forest abuse and guarantee sustainable forest management.
Following “extensive consultative engagement with stakeholders in the timber/afforestation business and value chain,” he tweeted, “today at the Green Building of the federal ministry of environment, I gave the nod for a conditional lifting of ban/suspension on the export of charcoal and processed wood.”
“The ministry has observed that many businesses have been unintentionally affected, especially those converting waste to wealth for export by the ban.
“As a responsible government, we would not be rigid in our policies and will always listen to citizens on how these policies affect them. Thus, we will be flexible in our decisions.
“The disposition decision taken by the government today is an opportunity for the private sector and individuals to massively invest in plantation establishments for their own use in the future.”
During his remarks, the minister who unveiled the Nigeria Timber Legality Standards and Guidelines paper urged attendees to follow them so that they can avoid legal trouble.
He recommended the establishment of a collaborative task team for monitoring compliance.
As a result, he said, “the Nigerian government has put in place stringent measures to stem the tide of our forest abuse and ensure sustainable forest management, which includes the setting – up of a Joint Task Force, National Forestry Trust Fund, Nigeria Timber Legality Standards, Inter-Ministerial.
“An inter-agency national stakeholders forum on the fight against wildlife and forest crime in Nigeria (including national elephant and ivory action plans), revised guidelines on export of wood and charcoal and a sustained afforestation programme. I subsequently launched the Nigeria timber legality standards and guidelines document.”