By Godwin Oritse
THE federal government and the Tropical Wood Exporters Association of Nigeria, TWEAN, have commenced moves to stop the export of processed and semi-processed woods. Disclosing this to Vanguard in Lagos yesterday, Secretary General of TWEAN, Mr. Joseph Odiase, said that the decision to stop the export of these categories of woods was initiated by the group and supported by the forestry department of the Federal Ministry of Environment.
Odiase noted that a three year moratorium has also been given to wood exporters to prepare for eventual ban of the export of wood from Nigeria.
He explained that the idea behind the move to stop wood export is to ensure more value added wood exports.
The decision, according to him, was taken by a ministerial committee set up the immediate past Minister of Environment, Hajia Amina Mohammed in 2016.
He stated that successful ban of wood export would lead to creation of more job opportunities in the wood industry.
“The policy was initiated by the TWEAN because we want to do business in line with the economic policies of the government. We want to do business in line with the well being of the nation’s economy and the Nigerian people. If we continue to export processed and semi-processed woods, we will continue to miss the value that comes with fully processed woods.
“TWEAN has asked government to allow for a three year moratorium to let exporters key into the initiative by way of bringing in more wood processing equipment,” Odiase said. He noted that more wood factories have been set up across the country, adding that only finished wood products will be allowed for export from next year.
Confirming the development, Mr Audu Ochuma, a Deputy Comptroller of Customs in charge of export at the Tin-Can Island port in Lagos, said that the agency had received a directive to stop the exportation of processed or semi-processed woods early next year (2019).