Central african economic and monetary community : log export ban postponed again
The decision to ban timber exports in their log form, which was due to be effective on 1st January 2023, has been postponed to another date in consideration of the reluctance expressed by the member countries of the Economic Union of Central Africa (UEAC).
At the 38th session of the Council of Ministers of the UEAC held in late October 2022 in Yaoundé (Cameroon), the ministers of the 6 CAEMC countries (Equatorial Guinea, Cameroon, Congo, Gabon, Chad, CAR) deemed it necessary to postpone the application of this decision.
While they support promoting local processing and simultaneously not exporting logs, they have nonetheless pointed to insecurities regarding loss of tax revenue generated by log exports.
Indeed, the current economic context in the CAEMC zone would not favour the implementation of such a resolution. Moreover, it would result in an estimated loss of revenue of 75 billion CFA francs for Gabon and 80 billion CFA francs for Cameroon, for example. These figures, which are not insignificant, invite States to adopt relevant accompanying measures in order to moderate the drop in revenues underlying the export of logs.
According to Professor Daniel Ona Ondo, President of the CAEMC Commission, as reported by Gabon Review, this constitutes a retro-pedal. This backtracking is justified by the various arguments put forward by the ministers which need to be examined in further detail.
However, it is important to underline that if this decision is implemented at the local level in each member country, it would favour industrialization of the wood sector, job creation and especially local consumption of wood products.