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Forestry, Wildlife Officials Urged To Decentralise Work Load 

By Nelen Tambe

CameroonPostline.com — Officials of the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife, MINFOF have been called upon to work towards attaining their set objectives by the end of this year.

Staff of the wood promotion centre and the Mvog-Betsi Zoological Garden are included in the call. Forestry, Ngole Philip Ngwese, made the call while opening a two-day workshop in Yaounde recently under the theme “Strategy to Optimize the Implementation of the 2014 Performance Plan and Roadmap”.

“Four programmes were designed and these programmes have as main objective to put on the wood market, enough timber legally harvested to it is properly transformed thereby creating more jobs, to protect our protected areas and fauna and ensure that they also contribute adequately to the economy of the nation,” Ngwese said. “This would also ensure that we implement international agreements signed by the Cameroon government in the forestry and wildlife sector,” he added.

“In spite of difficulties the sector faces, like trying to encourage team work, optimize revenue put at our disposal because usually the funds are not available and the staff not up to the challenges on the field, we design ways and means of ensuring that we are attain our targets,” the Minister went on. The workshop held at a time when forest royalties are expected to rise by over 50 percent of FCFA 20 billion this year.

MINFOF officials said financial compensation in the form of forest royalties that forest exploiters pay to the State as well as to local communities hosting exploited forests will increase to FCFA 20 billion as compared to FCFA 14 billion in 2013. According to the ECOFIN press agency that relayed the information, the reasons for this increase are in three-fold. First, over 51 new authorizations for exploitation are said to have been delivered this year which are expected to generate not less than FCFA 5 billion.

Second, the cost of royalty per hectare has increased from FCFA 2000 to FCFA 8000 and lastly, forest exploiters, reports say, have become more conscious of the correct practices to adopt. MINFOF crimes and fines records show that exploiters are progressively parting with attitudes such as illegal and wild felling of trees, which, in the past, cost the State an estimated FCFA 7 billion per annum.

The International Centre for Forest Research (CIFOR) confirmed this point with a finding which revealed that only 39percent of wood exploited in Cameroon is done illegally. That is the State has not been receiving taxes for 61percent of wood exploited.

If the State were to receive such royalties, an official of CIFOR explained, the amount per year would come up to nothing less than FCFA 30 billion. The workshop ended with presentation of New Year wishes to Minister Ngole Ngwese and the Secretary of State in the same Ministry, Koulsoumi Alhadji Boukar.

First published in The Post print edition no 01503

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