By Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja
The Minister of Environment, Amina Muhammed on Friday said there is no going back on the suspension of export of semi-processed would in the country, saying there was no alternative to replenish what was going out.
The Minister who was recently appointed as the Deputy Secretary General of United Nations lamented that over one million trees are being cut down per day in Nigeria, stressing that the ministry has given enough notice concerning the suspension.
She added that a policy framework to put an end to deforestation in the country was being put in place.
According to her, “let me make it clear, first of all, it is a suspension on rose wood ,any semi processed rose wood that goes out and it goes out in thousands of containers . So, what we are saying is that we do not see any alternative to replenishing what is going out. It is not that this is the worst part of deforestation, the few wood is one, the logging is another which is illegal in most cases…”
Muhammed stated that, “we say suspension because we intend to continue to see better performance when we want to deal with the export of semi-processed wood, this involves factories , it involves young people, trade, revenues; we don’t want to stop that, we don’t want to stop at the cost of taking down all our forest cover in this country.”
“So, 31st of December having had enough consultation, stands. Earlier this year, we suspended, and it is as a result of the response that we got to many commitment, we withdrew that suspension but we have been talking with the association, we have been talking with the National Assembly, of course not everybody will be happy but I think we have given sufficient notice and it is in the interest of our environment which optimally will affect our people,” she said.
The minister noted that the ministry was working in collaboration with Ministries of Trade and Investment and Petroleum Resources to reduce Sulphur content level in fuel imports including Diesels, petrol and kerosene from 3000ppm (parts per million) to 50ppm.
Muhammed however lamented that the 2016 budget was not reflective of the level of work needed to be executed by the Environment’s the sector.
She said the capital budget in the 2016 budget was 4.9billion of which 1.457billion was released as at September, amounting 29.5% which has been 96% utilised.