STRINGENT conditions will be enforced once timber starts moving along the main highways of Namibia after the moratorium on the transportation of this precious natural resource has been lifted.
Cabinet has authorised the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry (MAWF) to lift the timber transportation moratorium of already harvested timber. The cancellation of the moratorium came into effect on Monday 9 December 2019.
One of the main conditions attached to the cancellation of the moratorium is that local wood mills and manufacturers will be given first priority to buy the already harvested timber. If the local market is however, unable to absorb the timber the owners will be allowed to export their surplus.
According to the statement issued by Percy Misika, the Executive Director of the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, no harvesting of trees are allowed. Logs already harvested before the latest moratorium came into effect will only be allowed to be loaded onto trucks in the presence of forestry officials or officials from the Ministry of Environment and Tourism.
No loading will be allowed to take place at night.
Timber already stockpiled at Walvis Bay will only be allowed to be exported if all documentation is in order.
According to Misika the timber would only be able to leave the port if the transport permits and harvesting permits can be verified and conforms to each other. Officials will have the power to stop any vehicle transporting timber to verify if the documentation for the load is order.
“Any timber at Walvis Bay that does not have the proper documentation and for which police cases has been registered will not be allowed to be exported, but will be confiscated and disposed of by government by way of public auction.”
He said forestry officials will inspect any wood processing facility to obtain any required information from the institution and added that MAWF and MET officials can and may be accompanied by members of law enforcement agencies in the execution of their operations.
According to Misika both processed and unprocessed timber can be exported but only if an export license is obtained from forestry officials in Namibia. Timber will only be allowed to leave the country once all the required documentation are obtained from forestry officials and officials from Customs and Excise.
The Executive director said in his statement that forestry officials will be present at checkpoints such as Mururani Gate, Bravo Gate and Rooidag Gate to check on the movement of timber. He added that no timber will be allowed pass the permanent checkpoints during night time.
Timber originating in other countries may be allowed to be processed in Namibia or to transit through the country. The transit process will, however be done under close supervision of forestry, environment and customs officials.