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Efforts to tackle $10b illegal logging trade, Liberia, EU sign VPA after Ghana

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The Liberian government has signed an agreement with the European Union (EU) to ensure that all timber exports from that country into the EU zone are derived from legal sources.

The Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) which Ghana is also a signatory to with the EU, is to ensure that proceeds from the sale of timber into Europe will directly be beneficial to the Liberian people.

According to the EU, global figures show that between 20% and 40% of industrial wood production, valued at an estimated $10 billion per year, are derived from illegal logging. And up to 20% percent finds its way into the EU.

“In Liberia, prior to the imposition of UN sanctions, timber sales once was responsible for a fifth of GDP.  EU countries were a major destination for Liberia’s timber. In 2003, the EU accounted for more than half of Liberia’s timber exports”, the European Forest Institute (EFI) said in an emailed press release copied to ghanabusinessnews.com on May 9, 2011.

According to the EFI, during the regime of former President Charles Taylor, the World Bank estimates that corruption in the timber industry may have cost the state as much as half the entire country’s budget. Companies operating during this time may have evaded paying over $200 million in taxes to the Liberian government.

In Ghana, the country loses over $100 million from timber pricing to timber companies per annum, forestry expert Mr Elijah Danso told ghanabusinessnews.com at a recently held press conference in Accra citing a study conducted by Forest Watch Ghana in 2004/ 2005.

The VPA defines what constitutes a legal timber in the producer country and sets up an assurance system able to verify compliance and ensure that timber for export can be traced back to the source, the release says.

“Through the VPA, Liberia will be issuing FLEGT licenses which meet this requirement”, it says.

Liberia’s Agric Minister Dr. Florence Chenoweth was cited in the release during an initialing ceremony in Monrovia as saying “This historic agreement is a stepping stone for a new, stronger Liberia, built on principles of good governance, transparency, and rule of law.”

 

By Ekow Quandzie

$10b revenue from illegal logging: Liberia, EU sign accord to end menace after Ghana 

The Liberian government has signed an agreement to with the European Union (EU) to ensure that all timber exports from the West African nation into the EU zone are derived from legal sources.

Under the Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) which Ghana is also a signatory to with the EU, it is to ensure that proceeds from the sale of timber into Europe will directly be beneficial to the Liberian people.

According to the EU, global figures shows that between 20% and 40% of industrial wood production, valued at an estimated $10 billion per year, are derived from illegal logging. And up to 20% percent finds its way into the EU.

“In Liberia, prior the imposition of UN sanctions, timber sales once was responsible for a fifth of GDP.  EU countries were a major destination for Liberia’s timber. In 2003, the EU accounted for more than half of Liberia’s timber exports”, the European Forest Institute (EFI) said in an emailed press release copied to ghanabusinessnews.com on May 9, 2011.

According to EFI, during the regime of former President Charles Taylor, the World Bank estimates that corruption in the timber industry may have cost the state as much as half the entire country’s budget. Companies operating during this time may have evaded paying over $200 million in taxes to the Liberian government.

In Ghana, the country loses over $100 million from timber pricing to timber companies per annum, forestry expert Mr Elijah Danso told ghanabusinessnews.com at a recently held press conference in Accra citing a study conducted by Forest Watch Ghana in 2004/ 2005.

The VPA defines what constitutes a legal timber in the producer country and sets up an assurance system able to verify compliance and ensure that timber for export can be traced back to the source, the release says.

“Through the VPA, Liberia will be issuing FLEGT licenses which meet this requirement”, it says.

Liberia’s Agric Minister Dr. Florence Chenoweth was cited in release during an initialing ceremony in Monrovia as saying “This historic agreement is a stepping stone for a new, stronger Liberia, built on principles of good governance, transparency, and rule of law.”

By Ekow Quandzie

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