Angola removes the embargo on commercial exploration of forest resources

31 July 2018

The Angolan Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry plans to remove the embargo placed on exploration of forest resources on 8 August with the opening of the 2018 campaign in a ceremony to be held in the province of Moxico, said the Angolan national director of Forests, Domingos Nazaré Veloso.

Nazaré Veloso said that the ceremony will take place during the next advisory council of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, on 8 and 9 August in the city of Luena, capital of the province of Moxico.

The order to suspend all activities related to the exploration of forest resources was enacted in January by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, when news of illegal felling across the country was rife, with the provinces of Kwando Kubango and Moxico seen as the main areas where this was occurring.

In addition to indiscriminate felling, another concern of the authorities was the subsequent treatment of timber, from transport to sale. In this regard, the Ministries of Agriculture, of the Interior and of Transport approved a Joint Executive Order in 2016, which governs the inter-provincial transport of timber.

At the time the suspension was announced, the Ministry of Agriculture justified the measure with the need to adapt the operation of the sector to new legislation, approved in 2017, replacing laws in place since the colonial period.

Similarly to the previous law, the new legislation allows national citizens to explore forest resources but to export it requires prior presentation of the proof of payment by deposit in one of the country’s banks, or a letter of credit of the currencies corresponding to the shipment of cubic metres to be explored in a given area.

Angola has a forest area estimated at 69.3 million hectares, representing 55.6% of its land area, and commercial timber reserves estimated at 4.5 billion cubic metres. (macauhub)