Illegal Logging: Over FCFA 7.5 Billion Lost Yearly

 Findings released last Thursday by TRAFFIC NGO shows the illicit trade robes the State treasury of colossal sums

 

Cameroon loses some FCFA 7.5 Billion annually to illegal logging, a recent finding by TRAFFIC; a renowned international non-governmental organization monitoring trade in wild fauna and flora, has shown. Going by the TRAFFIC report published last Thursday, “the illicit trade in timber is a real scourge for the national economy.”
The NGO estimates that about 7.5 per cent of revenue accruing from the country’s global income on forest exploitation do not get into the State treasury. However, the report notes that the sector still pumps in FCFA 4.5 Billion or 4% of Cameroon’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in export earnings.
According to the NGO whose goal is to reduce the pressure of illegal and unsustainable wildlife trade on biodiversity, the losses commonly occur through informal channels where controls and different taxes are non-existent or slacked. It points out that the results were generated after a “serious and meticulous investigation” carried out in the various areas of timber exploitation throughout the country.
Against the backdrop of the illegal exploitation of the country’s timber resources, government through the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife has been taking many measures to circumvent the malpractice. Early this year, a forward-looking approach was adopted whereby the capacity of community volunteers in forest areas were being strengthened on using smartphones to take geo-tagged images of newly fell trees. Under the new dispensation, the volunteers, using satellite-linked phones to document tree-cutting in areas where logging is not allowed, report to MINFOF officials, police officers and even the National Anti-Corruption Commission. We learned from forestry officials in the East region that this particular measure has been paying off.
 

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