Over the last two weeks, Gabon announced the implementation of quota volumes for qualifying timber companies. There were mixed reactions from the companies, as a number felt their volume allocation was insufficient, while others were assigned workable volumes. Excluding January, the planned export log volume for the remaining 11 months of 2008 is just under 1.6 million m³. Of this, 350,000m³ was allocated to the State owned SNBG, the enterprise that previously held the monopoly for export of logs. All the exporting companies with the exception SNBG now have to be equipped with or be advanced in building processing facilities. More stringent controls are proposed on checking volumes by a technical facility that was separated from SNBG and the customs department.
Although the government of Equatorial Guinea recently banned the export of logs, it is understood that substantial volumes are still being shipped out of the country. Exports as much as 30,000m³ per month are rumored. Reports also say that log exports from Congo Brazzaville can be in excess of the planned quota for those companies involved in reforestation projects.
Forest Minister Belden Namah announced that PNG will phase out exports of logs by 2010 and develop downstream processing, reported The National. One potential impact of this action may be a loss of nearly K450 million in export revenue. On the other hand, landowners’ income may also rise, as the authorities have instituted a K20 per m³ rise in royalties for landowners. Mr. Namah also encouraged the development of downstream processing in the forestry sector and suggested that logging projects should provide secondary benefits to communities, such as improved roads and other infrastructure. Namah noted that if companies did not comply with logging laws, they would have their timber permits revoked.