Banjul, The Gambia — With the endorsement of Cabinet chaired by His Excellency President Adama Barrow on Thursday and in line with Section 113 of the Forest Act, 2018, the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change and Natural Resources (MECNARR) wishes to inform the public of these new regulations effective immediately:
1. All existing permits issued for the export/re-export of timber are permanently revoked;
2. The export/re-export of timber is banned;
3. The felling and/or import of Pterocarpuserinaceus locally known as KENO is banned;
4. The felling of Cordyla Africana, locally known as Wulakonoduto, Dimba or wild mango is banned;
5. All timber cleared for import by the Department of Forestry, must have complete and duly certified import documentation including bills of laden showing proof of transport, as well as Customs entries for every border it crossed before entering The Gambia, to avoid its forfeiture to the State upon arrival;
6. Timber for domestic use could be transported within The Gambia provided the carriers have authentic permits for household use duly issued by the Department of Forestry.
With these new rules, The Gambia Ports Authority (GPA) is hereby instructed to refuse loading for timber logs unto any vessel for export/re-export.
Both The Gambia Revenue Authority (GRA) and GPA shall commence the scanning of containers for export and the owners of any containers found with timber logs shall face the fullest penalties according to law.
Similarly, The Gambia Police Force (GPF) shall carry out random searches of containers headed for the Port of Banjul for suspected illicit timber and the owners of any container found wanting shall face the full force of the law.
With the launching of “Operation No Illegal Logging”, The Gambia Police Force shall confiscate any illicit timber found in The Gambia, which shall be immediately forfeited to the State.
To ensure responsibility in timber trade, the MECCNAR regards it as essential for all stakeholders to comply with all applicable laws, Regulations, International Treaties, Conventions and Agreements that are ratified by The Gambia.
As a preventive measure against illegal harvesting, The Gambia Government, through the Environment ministry shall be carrying out a due diligence of timber imported into the country to certify the chain of custody and legal entry into country.
In addition to the export ban, The Gambia will also introduce strategies to reduce domestic use of timber for firewood and charcoal.
The full cooperation of all public officials in this national endeavour is highly solicited as any public servant found wanting in this regard shall be sanctioned accordingly.
Public entities including District and Local Government Authorities; Department of Forestry; Gambia Police Force; Gambia Immigration Department; State Intelligence Services; The Gambia Ports Authority; Gambia Revenue Authority; Ministry of Health and the CITES Management Authority of The Gambia are requested to actively support the enforcement of these new statutory rules on timber.
President Adama Barrow encourages all citizens and residents of the country to report all suspected cases of environmental destruction be it in the form of illegal timber transports, indiscriminate dumping of waste, chopping of protected trees, bush fires or encroachment into forests.
Ebrima G Sankareh
The Gambia Government Spokesperson