By Aruna M Kargbo
The Chairman of the Leadway Trading Company Limited which is the Government Sole Agent for the export of timber, Babadi Kamara has revealed that since his appointment as the Sole Agent, Leadway has generated the sum of over $54 Million for government.
The Leadway Boss explained that on the 27th of June 2018 he was appointed by His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio to serve as the sole agent for the management and export of timber.
He maintained that as mandated within the terms of the agency, he (Babadi kamara) was charged with the responsibility of exporting an estimated Thirteen Thousand (13,000) container worth of timber.
He stated that initial mandate of exporting 13,000 containers was carried out with an estimated revenue of $37, 140,000 paid into the Consolidated Revenue Funds (CRF).
He noted that in February 2020, President Bio reappointed him to continue serving as the Sole Agent and under his mandate which commenced in February 2020 that the Leadway is on the process of exporting 5,995 20feet containers of which the total revenue generated so far is $17, 085, 750 adding that $14, 987, 500 accounts for total timber levies paid to the National Revenue Authority (NRA) and $2, 098, 250 paid as total for Afforestation and Cities.
That in fulfillment of the Two (2) mandates of June 2018 and February 2020, their agency has exported or is in the process of exporting a total of 18,995 20feet containers of timber which has generated the total revenue of $54, 225, 750 with a total timber levies of $47, 487, 500 and a total Afforestation and Cities of $6, 738, 250.
That his appointment as a sole agent was based on recommendation from the Timber Review Committee which found out that the proliferation of licenses to exporters corrupted the timber trade to an extent that government was not realizing the expected revenue from the industry.
That they are now faced with the challenge of which certain business people are pushing for the timber trade to return to its previous system of operation by issuing multiple licenses which will result in government losing its required revenue and make room for an unregulated trade.
He pointed out that due to the unhealthy competition to control the timber trade in the country that in March 2019 as a way of undermining the trade, certain people within the timber association stuffed timbers with palm trees, dead woods and even stones.
That given his knowledge in internal control process, he was able to institute measures to stop the ugly practice.