Following exporters’ refusal to adhere to the directive of cut-one plant-one, the Federal Government has banned the exportation of wood and charcoal.
This was disclosed by the Chief Executive Officer of Nigerian Export Promotion Council, NEPC, Mr. Olusegun Awolowo, at a two-day retreat organised by the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation, UNIDO, at the Free Trade Zone, Onne, Rivers State, for the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment and its agencies.
Mr Awolowo said that government must explain the reason for the move. He expressed his frustrations:
“I just got that circular; this is part of the policy somersault we are talking about. How can the government ban charcoal when people have been processing it? They did not even carry exporters along.”
Customs Public Relations Officer of Tin Can Island Port, Mr. Chris Osunkwo, also confirmed the news. He said they were aware of the ban but that the memo was yet to reach him. Mr. Giovani Locano, General Manager, China Shipping, said that he was not aware of any such bans.
He was however supportive of the decision of the government to ban the exportation of wood and charcoal but called for a more proactive approach so that peoples’ businesses are not affected.
Mr Osunkwo explained that wood and charcoal were banned because the exporters of these items failed to meet up with the agreement they had with the government on tree planting.
The scarcity and high cost of kerosene has forced families to resort to fuel and wood as the source of domestic energy. And this causes an ecological imbalance.
Erosion, desertification, and deforestation are the ecological threats that face Nigeria. Though this may be a harsh move by the government, its desperation in light of environmental challenges, is justifiable.