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Mozambique loses US$2.5B a year to illegal logging

The Mozambican state loses $2.5 billion each year, resulting from the persistent illegal logging in the provinces of Tete, Zambézia and Sofala, a top official said on Tuesday.

The Minister of Land, Environment and Rural Development, (MITADER), Celso Correia is quoted by state-controlled Mozambique Television, TVM as saying the losses stem in part from the collaboration of community leaders cover up for illegal logging in their regions.

 “Even after the announcement of zero tolerance on illegal logging, illegal operators do not respect the Mozambican authorities and insist on the clandestine devastation of timber, including protected species”, Correia reportedly said on Tuesday.

According to the environmental research organization, IIED, the driving force behind this boom in illegal logging was China, the biggest importer of logs in the world.

Chinese traders accounted for more than 90 percent Mozambique’s timber exports in 2016, “Trucks reveal the quantities of wood that still leave the forest conservation areas. This wood is illegally cut, pass through many inspection posts and exported to China through Mozambican ports, without observing the criteria established by law”, Correia added.

He added: “The logging and illegal transport of timber indicate that there is a criminal organization that community leaders as well as the Ministry of Land, Environment and Rural Development officials and influential figures who facilitate the removal of wooden containers out of the country.

The official added that this year, twelve MITADER officials involved in smuggling of timber were identified and arrested.

The issuance of false licenses and the authorization for the cutting of species protected by law, is on the agenda of the control program, which will be closer this year.

Last year, the state earned about $2.1 million resulting from the fines and sale of seized timber and fuel wood.

Source: Journal du Cameroun

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