The voice of artisanal loggers in eastern DR Congo is being heard

The voice of artisanal loggers in eastern DR Congo is being heard

DR Congo - 04 September, 2018

TBI has been working to promote and legalise the artisanal milling sector in DR Congo since 2010. This includes supporting artisanal loggers in what was then Province Orientale to organise themselves into legal associations.

Being organised is a vital condition for the artisanal logging sector to survive and thrive. Together, it is easier for the loggers to tackle the challenges they face in their daily operations, and to understand and comply with forest regulations and administration. This enhances the legality of the sector. At the same time, because the loggers can speak with one voice, they are in a much better position to negotiate their position with the authorities. This too is vital; for many years, artisanal loggers have faced all sorts of irregularities in their dealings with the authorities, especially when it came to paying taxes and fees or submitting logging permits.

TBI developed a directory of legal taxes, which has helped artisanal loggers defend themselves against administrative abuses by civil servants. One specific success was achieved in 2017. During a workshop in Bafwasende on landscape governance organised by Tropenbos DR Congo, artisanal loggers expressed their frustration about the state authorities in North Kivu province. These authorities demanded that loggers who were transporting their wood from Ituri and Tshopo provinces pay the same felling taxes that they had already paid in their own province. The loggers decided to take action. On 2 August, representatives of the loggers from Tshopo and Ituri approached the Directorate-General for Revenues and the National Forest Fund of North Kivu and lobbied against the payment of the felling tax for wood in transit. Their grievances were considered legitimate and the Directorate-General decided that the logging tax would no longer be charged for wood in transit from either province.

Published in the Annual Report 2017 

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