Craving The Way Out of Illegality

Timber that will henceforth be used within the framework of public contracts must come from legal sources. The Minister of Forestry and Wildlife, that of Public Works and the Minister Delegate at the Presidency of the Republic in charge of Public Contracts in a joint order of 15  December, this year, has streamlined the conditions for the use of legally sourced timber in public contracts. According to the decision, the State and other public institutions must as a matter of obligation use timber that is legally acquired in all their projects. The order further defines legal timber as “timber originating from one or more production or acquisition processes, including imported timber which meets all the criteria spelt out in the forestry law and regulations in force in Cameroon.”
The fight against the use of illegal timber has been on for several years in Cameroon, taking several forms including the passing of laws, creation of various sorts of brigade, and sanctioning of culprits among others, yet the resistance from those involved in such activity has almost become law. What is unfortunate about the whole setup is the fact that ill-acquire timber was seen being used in projects considered as official. The demand or the acceptance of such illegal timber had become an encouragement for those operating in outright illegality. The new dispensation has put in place mechanisms for the use of legally sourced timber and created enabling environment for easy access to timber. According to Article three of the order, legal timber shall among othe...



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