He said the Association was never informed or giving reasons for the shift and this has kept them out of job including thousands of able body youths that were employed by them, adding that the decision violates the local content policy set up by His Excellency Dr Ernest Bai Koroma. He disclosed that they now exporting raw timber instead of the already harvested timbers.
Expressing their disappointment against the office of the Chief of Staff at State House, the President of the timber Association in Sierra Leone Mr. Allan Barrie disclosed that the three companies are both Nigerian and Chinese which included Banico Holdings situated at Bai Bureh Road, CCFG in Wilberforce Street and CFG Construction and General Supplies in Adelaide Street. These companies were granted clearance this year.
The companies, he claimed are defrauding the state by not paying the correct fees. The payment should be $ 3,500 for processing, $ 2,000 for tax and 10% for reforestation, “ they are only pay $ 1,000 to NRA as tax and the rest into their secret coffers” He claimed.
In addition, the three companies he disclosed are operating a syndicate and exporting the raw timber logs out the country which contravenes what the policy states. Mr. Barrie is urging government to allow the Ministry of Agriculture, forestry and food security and the Ministry of Trade to supervise the issuance of clearance to business individuals relating to the export of timber out of Sierra Leone as they have the skills and professionalism and can handle it with ease, which will bring sanity to the timber industry.