….says CEO Patrick Koroma
July 28, 2017 By Regina Pratt
Sole timber exporter in Sierra Leone and Chief Executive Officer for China Friendship Society, Patrick Koroma, has observed that exporting timber from Sierra Leone would avert smuggling, because all other members from various associations were now working with him under one umbrella.
He made the above statement during a press conference on the eve of celebrating world Tree Planting day on Thursday, July 27, 2017.
He said before his operations, timber was being smuggled to neighbouring Guinea for export to other countries, while the government of Sierra Leone lost a lot of revenue because smugglers were not paying tax.
Koroma also said everybody was onboard the current operations and that plans were underway to support a one month project for tree-planting and also support institutions to continue practising reforestation.
The CEO disclosed that since the start of timber business in the country, the current scheme is the most reliable as all stakeholders were working with him to meet government’s expectations and unite the timber associations.
Acting Director of Agriculture, William Bangura, said one of the mitigating factor of tree planting was to commemorate Junes 5 to July 27, 2017, as World Tree Planting Day.
He also said government thoughts it fit that timber should be exported, adding that CEO Patrick Koroma was then given license to export 5,000 of 20ft containers of the product out of the country through collaboration with the Timber Associations.
He stated that the Ministry of Agriculture, in collaboration with the Timber Association, celebrated World Tree Planting Day, whereby they planted over 5,000 seedlings around the catchment sites.
He also said that government would regain losses in timber revenue by awarding license to responsible exporters who will handle the business effectively to avoid smuggling.
Adviser to the Timber Association, Mohamed S. kamara, said they were grateful to the government for nominating Patrick Koroma as the sole exporter for timber to avoid smuggling.
He said they were ready to support Patrick koroma, because since they started timber business in the country, they have never come together as one to export, adding that such was the second consignment of 5,000, 20ft containers that he will be exporting.
Mr. kamara disclosed that they have not receive any report that Patrick Koroma owe timber traders, which he said was a good precedent set by him, noting that they were ready to support him to the fullest.
Chairman for Timber Association, Abass Janneh, said it was the first time that they were working with a company to embrace an association.
He also said because of the rains they are having some constraints to get the timber, but that they will try their level best.