It wasn’t long ago that we posted a little piece on the politics surrounding Liberia’s decision to open up the bidding process for logging companies to begin cutting trees and selling the lumber on the international market. This made news because in 2003 the UN Security Council banned the country from exporting timber because profits from the industry were going to purchase guns and fueling the country’s civil war.
Even though it will be providing jobs and much needed financial resources to the country, re-launching the timber sector is something of a controversial move. For one, many timber companies have bloody hands from their role in the decade-long civil war. Thus, the government decided not to grant licenses to those companies involved in aiding and abetting civil disturbances, codewords, apparently, for involvement with warlords.
Anyway, the Forest Development Authority has now barred 17 logging companies from taking part in the new timber contracts. The Inquirer from Monrovia claims that these companies have been accused of at least one of the following actions: supporting militias, facilitating sales of arms for timber, or aiding civil instability. So far, one company has appealed the decision.