13 April 2006

Liberia: Declare Moratorium On Timber, SDI Boss Urges Govt

The head of a local environmental group, Sustainable Development Institute, Mr. Silas Siakor has called on government to declare a moratorium on timber export and a total ban on the export of round logs from Liberia, when the sanctions are lifted.

According to a release, Mr. Siakor said in a local media interview on Wednesday that the passing of the executive order number one canceling all forest concession agreement was a good first step, but other practical measures must be taken to ensure that this government is different from past ones both in character and vision.

He said one way that this government can make the difference is to add value to Liberia's timber export by insisting that logging companies set up processing plants so that only finished products can be exported.

"Government should not be in a haste to fix things up only to mess things up," Silas told the press.

Mr. Siakor said with large proportion of the country's forest depleted, government officials should not merely see the timber industry as a major revenue earner, but to find other options so that resources can be sustained and benefit Liberians.

He proposed that the number of logging companies should be limited to no more than three to enable the Forestry Development Authority properly monitor them.

Johnson-Sirleaf government declared a moratorium on the export of timber before December this year.

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