Post by Ismail AbdulAzeez on Jun 8, 2017 15:17:15 GMT 1
Matthew Adeleye, Ota, Ogun State: It is roughly six months ago that the Federal Government put on hold the export of wood to other countries of the world. The adverse effects of this decision on the nation’s economy are too numerous to ignore: The port operations had been rendered inactive with no activity going on in this area. Hundreds of thousands of Nigerians who make a living from wood business and export have been jobless and automatically made to suffer hunger.
The Nigerian Ports Authority is overcrowded with wood containers which couldn’t be shipped thus leading to port congestion. Government at all levels is losing huge revenue to the stoppage. Reverting to criminality and other social vices could not be ruled out on the part of the teeming youths who were dutifully engaged in the wood business. Investors in the wood export suffer significant loss due to inactivity and accumulated interest charges on bank loans.
This development, it must be noted, completely negates the government’s widely publicised policy of encouraging export and discouraging import as a crucial way to bail out the economy from the current recession. It is indeed a pity most of the economic rescue operations as constantly announced by the government are mere lip service pronouncements that never see the light of the day. What is the Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Amaechi, doing if a segment of the port operations have been rendered inactive for roughly half of the year now? Agreed, the problem of deforestation without reforestation has remained an age long blemish on our forestry and agricultural policy. The physical abuse and degradation of the national ecosystem leaves much to be desired. This is a fundamental challenge that cannot be corrected overnight. It is either the management of the nation’s forest reserves is in the hand of incompetent individuals or the discharge of their duties has been grossly compromised. After all, there are forest guard personnel all over the place whose responsibility it is to guard against illegal and incessant felling of log of timbers from the forest.
If, as it is, these agents of the government fail in their responsibility to effect control from the wood source, the idea of stopping wood midway is too costly, non-productive and indeed irresponsible. In its wood export policy framework, government has consistently made clear distinction between semi-processed wood and raw timber logs. The former being that that is allowed for exports. The idea we understand is to add value to the wood before leaving the Nigerian shore. It is most unfortunate however to discover that what is most common all over Nigeria is the export of the prohibitive wood products i.e. raw timber logs. Go to the ports and check. You find out only a very small percentage of containerised wood are semi-processed.
These are the challenges our government should diligently and carefully look into and proffer workable solution rather than completely cripple a section of the productive sector of the economy. In order to preserve the nation’s forest reserves and wildlife, the following remedial actions must be taken by the government: 1. Appropriate legislation should be made against illegal felling of logs all over Nigeria. 2. Planting of trees be legitimised and be made compulsory so as to effect necessary replacement of felled trees. 3. An efficient and effective task force should be constituted to arrest those who are in the habit of abusing the nation’s forest reserves.