CENTRAL AND WEST AFRICA
Buyer interest and bad weather lifts okoume price
April FOB prices remain at the same level as in March,
however, producers have signalled that enquiries for
okoume from importers for the Chinese market are on the
rise and some exporters have secured a euro 5/cu.m
increase in FOB prices for sawn okoume.
The price rise for okoume is also a function of availability.
Bad weather in both Gabon and Congo has impacted
harvesting and transport.
Export prices for the European market remain flat as the
hoped for early recovery of demand has not yet taken hold
in Europe. All shippers in the region are experiencing
problems in securing sufficient containers.
Derailments continue to plague Gabon
As the second quarter began the Transgabonais operating
company (Setrag) continued to experience train
derailments. The company reported another derailment on
22 April between Oyan and Mbel. In the first quarter the
company reported a derailment in each month. The
disruption caused by these derailments has resulted in
peelers mills in the GSEZ running short of logs such that
they are operating well below capacity.
Bad weather is also affecting log supplies to mills in
Cameroon which are already suffering from the impact of
the maximum load limit on trucks.
Equatorial Guinea a major shipper
Once again concern has been raised on the extent of
timber exports from Equatorial Guinea. Industry sources
have estimated that around 30,000 cu.m of timber is
exported monthly mainly to China and CITES regulated
timbers are included. According to data from China”s
Customs. Equatorial Guinea was the 6th ranked tropical
log supplier to the country in 2020.
Tax changes rattle businesses
Timber companies in Gabon are reeling from recent
changes in tax and fee structures. It was recently
announced that the export duty on sawnwood will be
increased from 1.9 % to 7% for air dry sawnwood and 3%
for kiln dry sawnwood.
New Minster – no more mining in forests
Samuel Abu Jinapor, Ghana”s new Minister for Lands and
Natural Resources has issued a directive to the Forestry
Commission to stop issuing permits for mining in forests.
This comes at a time when illegal small-scale miners
continue to evade the authorities.
Illegal logging and mining in forest reserves have a
negative impact on the environment and on the timber
The Ghana Timber Association (GTA) has welcomed the
Minister”s decision saying this will help reduce forest
degradation. The forest cover in Ghana has fallen steadily
due mainly to farming and mining.
Securing logs for Ghana mills serving domestic
market – changes to forest concession contracts
Dr. Nurudeen Iddrisu, Director of Operations and Acting
Executive Director of the Timber Industry Development
Division (TIDD) of the Forestry Commission has called
for collaboration between companies operating in the
export and domestic markets to ensure the sustainability of
At a workshop “Preparing Domestic Market Players
Towards FLEGT Licensing”, Dr. Iddrisu said partnership
between the two sectors of the timber industry would lead
to a sustained supply of wood for domestic processing.
He disclosed that the Forestry Commission is to
implement a 100% Yield Removal Policy that mandates
concessionaires remove species in the yield allocation
even if there is no immediate export market for these
According to Iddrisu the practice of concessionaires to
harvest only their preferred species for export denies
supplies to mills processing for the domestic market.
Iddirsu said “With this new policy, we require them
(concessionaires) to harvest all so they can sell the other
species to the domestic timber merchants; that would
ensure constant supply of wood on the market and curb
Utility companies seek to raise prices
The Ghana Employers” Association (GEA) has urged the
Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) to reject
any proposal from the utility companies seeking an
increase in tariffs as an increase, particularly at this time,
could lead to many companies collapsing.
The Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) and Ghana
Water Company Limited (GWCL) are two major utilities
companies regulated by the PURC which have been
pushing for authority to raise prices to consumers.
Economy forecast to grow this year
According to the April 2021 “West Africa Monitor” report
by Fitch Solutions Ghana”s economy is forecast to grow
4.5% this year with all the sectors contributing to an
appreciable growth rate. This would translate into a per
capita income of US$2,206 in 2021, from US$2,020 in
Ghana”s timber and wood product exports for first 2-
months of 2021 registered significant increases when
compared to same period in 2020.
The daily count of Covid 19 cases in Malaysia is coming
close to 3,000. As of mid-April the country recorded a
total of 390,252 cases with 1,426 deaths.
The vaccination programme started on 23 April. The
vaccination programme is being carried out in three
phases. The first, which is expected to be completed by the
end of April covers frontliners. The second, which began
on 19 April, involves high-risk groups and those aged 60
Private sector urges ratification of CPTTP
The Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) has
called on the government to urgently ratify the
Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-
Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and Regional Comprehensive
Partnership Agreement (RCEP) to assist business recovery
and rebuild supply chains in the region. FMM president,
Soh Thian Lai, said the Federation believes regional trade
agreements will greatly contribute to the postpandemic.
The CPTPP eliminates tariffs on nearly 96% of
products traded with the intra-regional group.