11 April 2018

Sierra Leone: Govt Suspends Timber Export

The new Sierra Leone People's Party (SLPP)-led administration has announced an immediate suspension of export of timber logs in the country until further notice.

This is not the first time that a suspension has been slammed on the export of timber and related activities in the country. The former All People's Congress (APC) regime also suspended timber activities, although the ban was lifted later. Even though logging provides jobs for many unemployed Sierra Leoneans, timber export has not yielded much dividend to improve the country's ailing economy.

"I wholeheartedly welcome the ban on the export of timber logs. I only hope it will be sustained with measures put in place. I think this will be a start to save our remaining forests," Amadu Conteh said.

According to an executive order signed by President Julius Maada Bio, the move is part of the government's commitment to reducing leakages and enhancing domestic revenue mobilisation for financial development programmes under the new direction.

Environmental Journalist, Ishmael Kindama Dumbuya, said he was very impressed with the decision of the new government to suspend the export of timber logs.

"Certainly it is a step in the right direction and I will crave the president's indulgence to further transform the suspension to a permanent ban. No one needs to be told that the consequences of deforestation or the cutting down of our trees is enormous," he remarked.

He added that with climate change directly impacting the people, children and mostly women will definitely suffer the consequences.

Meanwhile, President Bio also ordered the suspension of duty and tax payments by organisations, agencies, companies and contractors, as well as duty and tax waivers enjoyed by all some organisations as part of agreements ratified by Parliament.

Also, ministries, departments and agencies of government that collect and retain government revenues have been directed to transfer all such revenues into the Consolidated Revenue Fund with immediate effect, consistent with the provisions of the Fiscal Management and Control Act, 2017.

The country's Accountant General has been directed by the president to close all the revenue collection accounts of agencies listed in the Fiscal Management and Control Act, 2017 and open same at the Bank of Sierra Leone to collect all revenues previously administered by those agencies.

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