By Sylvester Samba.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Leadway Trading Company (Sierra Leone) Limited and Government’s sole Agent for timber export, Mr. Babadi Karama has disclosed that in one month alone he has been able to generate the sum of three million, three hundred and sixty seven thousand, three hundred United States Dollars (US$3,367,300.00) from the export of timber.
Addressing pressmen at his Adelaide Street office in Freetown, Mr. Kamara said the money has been paid in to the Consolidated Revenue Fund at the Bank of Sierra Leone.
He further explained that two thousand five hundred United States Dollars ($2,500) is being paid to NRA per container and three hundred and fifty United States Dollars ($350) for Reforestation “In total, Leadway Trading Company is paying $2,850 per container”, Mr. Kamara noted.
The Chief Executive Officer maintained that monies for reforestation deposited in the consolidated timber revenue account at the Bank of Sierra Leone are meant to facilitate tree planting and other related forestry activities.
He added that the temporary lifting of the ban on the export of harvested timber does not amount to lifting of the ban on new timber logging.
Mr. Kamara maintained that his company has been working with the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and Sierra Leone Police (SLP) to ensure that no new trees are logged for export purposes. ” I call on all stakeholders in the timber trade especially the SLP, and district forest officers under MAFFS to continue monitoring our forest to ensure that no new cutting of timber takes place”, he stressed.
The CEO added that he was appointed as Government Agent to facilitate the export of the estimated 13,000 containers worth of timber across the country, adding that Leadway has received payment for only 1,150 containers.
Following the political transition in early April this year, government imposed a ban on the timber trade and, through the Ministry of Finance, set up a five- man Timber Review Committee to investigate the trade during the previous regime.
After the investigations, the committee recommended as follows: that a sole Agent be appointed by the government to supervise and coordinate the timber trade; all timber charges be paid into the CRF set up by government at Bank of Sierra Leone and also allows the government Agent to export an estimated 13,000000 worth of timber already logged and harvested before the ban.