Cameroon’s Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife has said “there is no institutional disposition that authorises the minister (of Forestry and Wildlife) to accord fiscal relief to whosoever.”
The ministry made the point known in response to a call last week by Greenpeace on the ministry to reject the request by Groupement de la Filiere Bois du Cameroun – Cameroon Timber Sector Grouping – for a reduction in the taxes they pay for exploiting Cameroon’s forestry endowment due to the negative effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on their sector.
The spokesperson for the ministry, Jean-Robert Onana, declared that “the appeal by Greenpeace is in line with the plan adopted by the government for the protection of national forests.
This protection is in coherence with the durable management of forestry and wildlife resources, the cornerstone of the national policy voluntarily adopted without constraints since two decades,” Onana said.
He said “the Cameroon government has been working with other institutional partners, the civil society and non-governmental organisations to ensure the respect of the principles of proper development which integrates investments in renewable energy, agriculture and the participative management of resources.”
According to the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife, 90 per cent Cameroon’s productive forests are being developed and more than 20.5 per cent of the national territory is placed under conservation. This is more than 12 per cent above the 2010 objective of the United Nations.
“The strategic position of the forestry sector in the national economy is constant and constitutes no obstacle to the Cameroon government’s economic development imperatives and the preservation of our forestry resources for future generations,” Onana said.
The forestry exploiters had also prayed the government to reduce by 50 per cent the customs duty paid on transformed timber and the suspension of the payment of forestry royalties, all of which Greenpeace opposed.