The international environmental defense non-govermental organisation, Greenpeace, has called on the Cameroonian government not to accept appeals by the country’s timber exploiters umbrella body, Groupement de la Filiere Bois du Cameroun (GFBC) – Cameroon Timber Sector Grouping – for a reduction in the taxes they pay for exploiting Cameroon’s forests.
The demand by GFBC was made on June 2, 2020, when a delegation led by the group’s President, Giorgio Giorgetti, met with Cameroon’s Minister of Forestry and Wildlife, Jules Doret Ndongo.
“The real underlying problem of the forestry exploitation industry is not its actual incapacity to pay taxes but its continued contribution to the violation of human rights and the destruction of the planet. According tax relief to forestry companies could tantamount to publicly financing our next pandemic”, Ranece Ndjeudja, a Greendpeace Africa official in Cameroon, said.
Greenpeace Africa rather calls on the Cameroon government to put in place a permanent protection plan for its forest and to work with international partners with a view to generating investments in the renewable energy, ecological agriculture and the community management of forests.
“We have to protect nature so that nature can protect us. The actual distress of the forestry exploitation sector is a good opportunity to reconstruct our economy in durable sectors that do not exacerbate climatic urgencies and put in danger biodiversity nor menace our health,” Ndjeudja declared.
However, GFBC insists a reduction in timber exploitation taxes during the 2020 budgetary year would be a big advantage to timber exploiters who are currently negatively affected by the ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The group is also asking for a 50 per cent reduction in customs duty on transformed timber and a suspension in the payment of forestry royalties.