The Liberian government has secretly given the country’s loggers a US$13 million tax break, subsidising companies at the expense of the country and forest communities. International NGO Global Witness says the move has undone 15 years of reform.
Signed by Liberia’s President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the new law knocks a massive hole through Liberia’s budget. It also undermines the country’s efforts to mitigate climate change through preserving its forests and managing them for the benefit of its people.
It effectively writes off US$13 million of Bid Premium payments, funds owed by Liberia’s logging companies to the state and accrued over the past ten years. For the next three years the companies will not need to pay what they owe. And the companies will be able to claim ill-defined “investments” accrued between 2016 and 2020 against this tax bill. Given the dismal state of companies’ past “investments,” not to mention their persistently poor delivery on their obligations to forest communities, it is hard to see how this could possibly be in the interests of the Liberian people.