By Godwin Oritse
THE Tin-Can Command of the Nigeria Customs Service,(NCS) has said that only semi-treated and fully processed wood products will be allowed through its command as export.
Speaking with stakeholders in Lagos recently, the Customs Area Comptroller of the Tin-Can Island Command, Mr. Yusuf Bashar said that it had to sensitize the trading public particularly exporters on the need to ensure that only exportable wood products are brought in to the port adding that anything short of what the law permits will be confiscated.
Bashar also said that the command had to bring in officials of the Federal Environment Protection Agency, (FEPA) to assist the Customs in explaining and showing to exporters the difference between treated and untreated wood products.
He explained that exports do not attract any duty adding that in the light of falling oil price, the government is trying to encourage Nigerians to export as much as they can with a view to earn more foreign exchange.
“It is an incentive to encourage export because it is assumed that money will come to government based on exportable products from Nigeria most especially now that Nigeria is having issue with crude oil.
“Price per barrel is going down, it is our major foreign exchange earner so Nigerians must be encouraged to export as much lawful products as possible.
“At a point, we asked ourselves how we can encourage exports from our end, we thought that the best way to do that was to sensitize the people and tell what exports are allowed by law.
“We took wood products as the first item amongst exportable products because it attracts a lot of attention.
“The need for the campaign became imperative due to the seeming confusion emanating from the export of wood products .
“So we met exporters of wood products, freight forwarders of wood exporters, our own Customs personnel and any interested members of the public and let them know the categories of wood that are lawfully exportable”he said.
According to Bashar, other government agencies that approved such exports were also invited to tell exporters what is called processed and semi processed woods.
He opined that the more there is communication, the higher the compliance level ,adding that unprocessed wood is banned from export.