The Federal Government is working on new National Forest Management Policy Guidelines that would promote equitable management of the nation’s forest in such a manner that the harvest of timber and non-timber products does not have any adverse effects on the forest’s biodiversity, productivity and ecological process.
Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Environment, Mrs Ibukun Odusote, gave this hint in Abuja when a delegation of the Association of Charcoal Exporters of Nigeria led by its president, Dele Fagbola, paid her a courtesy visit.
Mrs Odusote stated that government is aware that certification will add economic value to the products being exported and this will in turn add to the national GDP. According to her, this realisation has made government to carefully structure the guidelines to be mutually beneficial to everyone.
She lauded the efforts of the association at mitigating the effects of deforestation, stressing that, if adequately managed, the forest can be both economically viable and socially beneficial to the country.
“I wish to however urge you to mobilise your membership in supporting government efforts at boosting afforestation and forest cover in the country. As we cut down a tree today, we should replace it by planting at least three new ones,” she stated.
Earlier in her remarks, the Legal Secretary to the Association, Lola Idowu, said that they were in the Environment Ministry to solicit support in the passage of the draft bill for an Act for the establishment of the National Timber and Forest Product Certification Council before the National Assembly.
She stated that the association has put in place several measures geared towards the sanitisation of charcoal exportation in the country.
Part of the efforts, she revealed, is the establishment of some plantations in Oyo, Ogun and Kwara states to fulfill the government’s policy of “cut-one-plant-two”.
She further said that the association has written letters to the governments of the 36 states and the FCT, to donate parcels of land for them to site forest to enable the association control the activities of its members within confined areas.
She said if the requests are granted, the association would embark on training the locals on the best techniques to use for better yields as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility.