The federal government has “conditionally” lifted the ban on wood and charcoal exportation.
Mohammed Abdullahi, minister of environment, said this in Abuja on Thursday after a consultative meeting with stakeholders in the timber and afforestation business.
He said a lot of businesses have been affected by the ban, adding that the decision was taken to enable the private sector and individuals to invest in afforestation.
The minister cautioned that the government would put stringent measures in place to stop forest abuse and ensure sustainable forest management.
“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 after an exhaustive consultative engagement with stakeholders in the timber/afforestation business and value chain,” he tweeted.
“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.”
The minister who launched Nigeria Timber Legality Standards and Guidelines document at the event implored businesses and individuals to adhere to the guidelines to avoid prosecution.
He mentioned that a joint task force has been set up to ensure compliance.
“Consequently, the Nigerian government has put in place stringent measures to stem the tide of our forest abuse and ensure sustainable forest management which include the setting up of a Joint Task Force, National Forestry Trust Fund, Nigeria Timber Legality Standards, Inter-Ministerial,” he added.
“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 program. I subsequently launched the Nigeria timber legality standards and guidelines document.”