The Federal Government of Nigeria has conditionally lifted the ban on Charcoal and Processed Wood export in a bid to revamp businesses, especially those converting waste to wealth and thereby increase the country’s foreign exchange earnings.
The Minister of Environment, Barrister Mohammed Abdullahi disclosed this in Abuja at a Stakeholders’ Consultative Meeting on the Review of the Ban on Charcoal and Suspension of Processed Wood and Other Allied products.
With the latest development, reports disclose that exporters are currently jostling to get a chunk of the market for both products with Processed Wood said to be worth $ 152.94 billion while Charcoal is reportedly valued at $ 5.41 billion respectively for the year 2023.
According to the Minister, “The Ministry has observed that many businesses have been unintentionally affected especially those converting waste to wealth for export by the ban. As a responsible government, we would not be rigid in our policies, and will always listen to citizens on how these policies affect them”.
Therefore, Barrister Abdullahi said the government has considered the submissions of stakeholders in this meeting and previous ones on the need to revisit the decision taken in 2018 and 2020 respectively in the interest of the country. “After careful deliberations, I hereby pronounce the conditional lifting of ban/suspension on the export of charcoal and processed wood respectively”, he added.
However, he reiterated that the government’s decision is an opportunity for private sectors and individuals to massively invest in plantations establishment for future utilization.
The Minister also cautioned operators in the industry to adhere to the Nigeria Timber Legality Standards and Guideline for Wood and Charcoal Export to avoid prosecution as the decision to lift the ban could be revisited by failure to comply with the laid down rules and regulations.
Speaking on the matter, the Executive Director/CEO of NEPC, Dr. Ezra Yakusak commended the government for lifting the suspension on the export of both commodities but warned exporters to play by the rule if they intend to maximize the opportunities presented with the recent development. He said the Council was, more than ever before, ready and willing to support
Nigerians who wish to export the said products by providing seamless trade facilitation.
The Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) among other stakeholders such as the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Raw Material Research and Development Council State Directors of Forestry and Forest Institute of Nigeria attended the meeting.
United Arab Emirates (UAE), Lebanon, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Poland are destination markets for Nigeria’s charcoal export.