THE Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism has resumed issuing of permits for timber transportation in Namibia after halting this in March 2020.
However, the export and transportation of timber is subject to conditions such as local supply and processing getting priority.
The ministry will however not issue permits for unprocessed timber in accordance with set regulations.
In a statement on Wednesday, environment commissioner Timoteus Mufeti said during the suspension, officials who were facilitating the timber operations were recalled and no permits were issued to transport Namibian timber.
He added that as part of the conditions, timber intended for export should be processed into planks that are not ticker than five centimetres and that both processed and unprocessed timber may be exported under the export permit issued by forestry officials in the country.
“The ministry urges foreign buyers who procured unprocessed timber products to make use of local factories to process the timber into primary products in full compliance with the law,” Mufeti said.
Mufeti said the harvesting of new timber remains banned, and no transportation or export permits will be issued without verification by forestry officials. He added that all timber to be transported will be loaded in the trucks in the presence of ministry's officials.
“Timber and timber products that are transported without a permit will be confiscated and culprits will be arrested and charged in accordance with the law,” the commissioner added.
He said permits will have conditions aimed at promoting sustainable utilisation of Namibian timber and forest resources as well as stimulating economic growth and employment creation in the country.
“We believe that through value addition, we will promote the local timber industry and enhance its growth to contribute to employment creation and ultimately economic development,” he said.
The commissioner further noted that timber at Walvis Bay will only be allowed for exportation if all documentation is in order and when the information on the permits is consistent.
“Timber coming from other countries may be allowed to be processed in Namibia to transit through Namibia and this is to be done with a close supervision of the forestry and other relevant authorities like customs,” Mufeti noted. -firstname.lastname@example.org
SOURCE: The Namibian