PESHAWAR/ ISLAMABAD: Reducing duty on the import of timber will provide alternatives to cutting local forests for furniture and help curb logging besides reducing the pace of deforestation, Minister for Climate Change Senator Mushahidullah Khan.
"Pakistan should promote import of timber from countries having large forest cover, which can be achieved by reducing import duty. It will also help ensure availability of inexpensive wood in abundance for different use. It will also help stop deforestation," he said while talking to the media.
According to United Nations, he said, a country must have 25 per cent of forest cover on its area, while Pakistan has less than six per cent forest cover on its land.
Mushahid said deforestation in Pakistan was not only due to excessive use of timbre mainly for fuel but also due to illegal logging by the timber mafias. The minister said the government was committed to bring the forest cover to international standard. To achieve the desired result, he said the government had started Green Pakistan Programme (GPP).
He said the GPP was launched last year on February 9 to plant 100 million saplings across the country and it would cost Rs4.7 billion in five years. He said till date some 18 million saplings had been planted throughout the country under the programme, adding "We have achieved the set target during the last year, now in current year we are ahead of the set target under GPP."
Published in The Express Tribune, March 3rd, 2018.