A recent World Bank report indicates that illegal logging in some countries accounts for as much as 90 per cent of all logging and generates approximately 15 billion annually.
However, Natural Resources Minister Stanslas Kamanzi says that Rwanda is not affected at all.
“In our country, illegal cutting of trees is marginal because the guidelines are clear that you cannot harvest forests without permission from relevant authorities,” Kamanzi said.
He revealed that the practice is a criminal offence punishable by the law.
The World Bank report says that in order to effectively fight illegal logging, law enforcement ought to be adopted by all stakeholders.
It provides policy and operational recommendations for policy makers and forestry and law enforcement actors to integrate illegal logging into criminal justice strategies.
“There is need to foster international and domestic cooperation among policy makers, law enforcement authorities and other key stakeholders,” the report reads in part.
It further adds that to be effective while combating illegal logging, law enforcement needs to look past low-level criminals and look at where the profits from illegal logging go.
The World Bank estimates that mostly controlled by organised crime, this money is untaxed and is used to pay corrupt government officials at all levels.