Mozambique’s parliament, the Assembly of the Republic, has started considering a government Bill aimed at imposing a ban on all exports of logs.

The Bill, unanimously approved at its first reading Wednesday, amends a 2010 law which instituted a surcharge for all exports of unprocessed of semi-processed timber to discourage the export of unprocessed wood, and encourage local industries to turn Mozambican timber into furniture and other finished goods.

Introducing the government Bill, Land, Environment and Rural Development Minister Celso Correia admitted that the 2010 law “did not meet any of its objectives, and the country continued to record high levels of export of logs and poor development of the national processing industry”.

The major weakness of the 2010 law was that it allowed the export of logs, except from class one hardwood species. Exporters got round this by simply claiming that all their logs were from other classes of tree species.

Since being appointed minister in early 2015 Correia has been working for a total ban on the export of logs, and he has now won that battle. The most important article in the government Bill simply revokes the clause in the 2010 law which permitted the export of logs.

If the Bill passes, Correia said, the government will be able to alter the 2002 Regulations on the Forestry and Wildlife Law, which also permits the export of logs. At the time, this was envisaged as an exception but it quickly became the rule.