The Customs Area Comptroller of the Apapa port, Comptroller Willy Egbudin has said the recent upsurge in the exportation of unprocessed wood was because the exporters do not understand federal government policy on timber export.
Egbudin stated this at a sensatisation workshop organised by the Command recently. The workshop, he said, became imperative due to the recent upsurge of unprocessed woods exportation which negates the federal government policy on timber exports.
The CAC, who expressed deep concern about the development, linked to ignorance on the part of exporters. According to him exporters are delivering unprocessed timbers which are economically redundant.
He said the Common External Tariff (CET) in schedule 6 prohibits unprocessed woods for exports, but with a proviso for exports of railway and furniture components.
“Out of ignorance and desperation some people have gone to cut raw timbers for export. You have to add value and create employments for our teeming youths,” he said.
Taking the exporters through the required processes and procedures the Asycuda Project Manager (APM) of Apapa Command, Deputy Comptroller Yusuf Marenta displayed all the documentations and processes required for wood and other exports.
A representative of the Federal Ministry of Environment Forestry department explained the procedures for obtaining woods export support letter from the ministry. Displaying the new guidelines for wood exports released by the Forestry Department the maximum allowable dimensions for exports are length 30mm-350mm, width 50mm-360mm and thickness 25mm-345mm.
The support is valid for 12 months after which a new one is applied for. The letter also mandates the woods to be inspected at port of export by the inspectorate unit of the Forestry Department and pre-shipment inspection documents obtained. It also advised exporters to strictly adhere to the sizes and volume specified by the guidelines as any deviation from such will attract suspension or withdrawal of the Federal Ministry’s supports.
At the meeting, it was highlighted to stakeholders that the budget office of the Federation has notified the Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service Col. Hameed Ibrahim (Rtd) of the new guidelines for wood exports. The beneficiaries are to have all the required permits including, Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) certificate for exports, strict compliance with the provisions of the extant guidelines for non-oil exports, completion of Nigeria Exports Proceeds form and that of the customs service ,opening of letter of credit for buyers and repatriation of foreign exchange proceeds arising from the approval into the company’s domiciliary account in Nigeria, and all the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) certificate required for the establishment of any company.
The permit to all semi-processed and processed wood exporters, procedures, guidelines and documentation for export of semi-processed and processed wood exporters from Nigeria also includes letters of request from prospective buyers, evidence of permits from the state where the wood will be sourced, pre-visit to the factory site by relevant officers from the Federal Department of Forestry among others. The critical aspect of the new requirements for wood exports is that, the exporter must own a saw mill where these woods are processed to the required sizes for exports. This will add value and create employment opportunities for Nigerians. The Apapa command has so far made seizures of 25 containers of the unprocessed woods in the last three weeks.