Namibia: Timber Back On the Table for Locals

THE Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism will resume the issuing of transport permits for already harvested timber destined for the local market only.

This comes after the ministry imposed a ban on the harvesting and transport of rosewood timber by halting the issuance of environmental clearance certificates, as well as transport and timber harvesting licenses, in March.

Environment and forestry minister Pohamba Shifeta made the announcement during a press briefing to update the public on the conditions of timber transport and harvesting on Thursday.

"Over the past few years, many members of the general public have expressed genuine concerns with regards to the harvesting and utilisation of hardwood timber resources," Shifeta said.

"Accordingly and in response, the ministry has emphasised the need for all timber harvesting activities to be undertaken in compliance with existing legislative requirements."

In addition, Shifeta said no export permits would be issued for unprocessed or semi-processed timber, and that new timber harvesting activities remain prohibited.

"At this stage we want to focus on monitoring and facilitating the utilisation of already harvested timber in the country," he said.

Shifeta said forestry officials would work alongside the Namibian Police to monitor the harvesting and transport of timber.

"All timber is to be loaded in trucks in the presence of MEFT officials. Timber or timber products being transported without the required permit will be confiscated," he said.

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