(Business in Cameroon) - In the CEMAC region, the ban on raw timber export will no longer become effective on January 1, 2022, as initially planned. It will instead become effective on January 1, 2023. This decision was issued during the videoconference of the CEMAC and DR Congo’s Ministers of Finance, Industry, Environment, Forest, and Budget on July 28, 2021. Organized by Daniel Ona Ondo, President of the CEMAC Commission, the conference was chaired by Paul Tasong, Cameroon’s Minister Delegate to the Minister of Economy Planning and Regional Development in charge of Planning.
CEMAC is planning to establish a transitional period, running from January to December 2022, to carry out required studies and mature the wood processing investment projects selected during the first phase of the raw timber export ban process.
“For the first phase, two special economic zones have been identified in each of the member countries for the establishment of the first, second, and third wood-processing plants. Part of those zones will also serve for the creation of forest plantations, which play an economic, social, and ecologic role in the preservation of ecosystems in the Congo Basin,” explains Duval Antoine Dembi, Director of Industrial Development, Mines and Tourism of the CEMAC Commission.
The transitional period was also instated to prepare forest operators for the change ahead thanks to the CEMAC commission’s support. “To avoid a sudden paradigm shift that can place players in the sector into serious structural difficulties, from January to December 2022, the CEMAC Commission is committed to helping member states facilitate the shift. With the support of the AfDB, the commission will finance the feasibility studies of the 28 projects identified and assess their maturity. Also, a harmonized regional forestry tax system is planned and support measures will be taken for companies affected,” Duval Antoine Dembi added.
Brice R. Mbodiam