Law enforcement agencies are set to join forces to enforce a presidential ban on the commercial production of charcoal.
In a move aimed at tackling environmental crimes head-on, territorial commanders have been entrusted with the crucial task of combating illegal timber export, destructive charcoal production, and transportation. With immediate effect, these commanders will assume the responsibility of curbing these illicit activities that pose a significant threat to natural resources and ecosystems.
In a press release issued on Wednesday, July 26, 2023, Police spokesperson SCP Fred Enanga announced that the enforcement measures were implemented in response to a ban imposed by H.E. President Yoweri K Museveni. The ban specifically targets the unsustainable harvesting of trees for timber and veneer exports.
The President emphasised that only factories in Uganda that process timber for the production of plywood, furniture, and other value-added products should be permitted to operate.
However, these factories must also have sustainable tree planting and harvesting plans in place.
This will be implemented through close coordination with support teams from the National Forest Authority (NFA), customs, the Ministry of Trade, local governments, the FIA, and other security agencies.
SCP Enanga issued a warning to all individuals involved in the timber trade, including traders, transporters, middlemen, and locals.
“All timber traders, transporters, middlemen, and locals, who often work in complex networks to facilitate the illegal transportation of timber across our land or water borders, are warned that it is now illegal to export timber out of the country,” Enanga said.
Enanga states that the teams have been assigned the responsibility of identifying and targeting all locations where timber trafficking is prevalent. This includes focusing on land, air, and water border points, as well as large companies and individuals involved in criminal activities, such as politicians and unscrupulous dealers, who may try to evade the Presidential Directive, so it is important to pay special attention to them.
“We will therefore have a zero tolerance policy towards anyone who defies this executive order by engaging in the illegal export of timber,” he added.