Environmental groups criticize Liberia's new logging law

2017-12-21 19:01


Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Monrovia — Two global environmental watchdogs have condemned a new law in Liberia that they say rewards logging companies at the expense of one of the world's poorest nations, and they called on donors to halt support until the law is overturned.

"The Liberian government has secretly given the country's loggers a $13 million tax break," Global Witness and Tropenbos International said in a new report this week, adding that the law "has undone 15 years of reform" in the lucrative timber sector.

Liberia's timber industry was in the international spotlight in the early 2000s when its products were said to be used to fuel conflict. Sanctions were placed on the West African nation until a post-war government took office in 2006.

The new law signed by outgoing President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf "knocks a massive hole through Liberia's budget," the watchdog groups say. "It also undermines the country's efforts to mitigate climate change through preserving its forests."

The law was passed in October but was made public only last week, as Liberians prepare for a December 26 run-off election to choose a successor to Sirleaf, Africa's first female president and a Nobel Peace Prize winner.

The watchdog groups say the law effectively writes off $13 million in taxes owed to the government and accrued over 10 years by logging companies.

"There is no logical explanation for why Liberia should be subsidising loggers who have persistently broken the law and now are failing even to pay the taxes they owe," said David Young, campaign leader at Global Witness.

Sirleaf's principal economic adviser, Augustine Jarrett, told The Associated Press that the law allows companies to suspend paying taxes and use the money to invest in activities including the building of sawmills and wood dryers to increase exports.

He said the law is meant encourage the logging industry as others, such as mining, are struggling. Prices of main export earners such as rubber and iron have dropped on the world market in recent years.

"In order for us to get this economy going ... Liberia has to earn its own way," Jarrett said. He said calling for donors to halt support to the country is counter-productive.

Read more on:    liberia  |  environment

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.