Environment CS Keriako Tobiko on Wednesday extended the ban on logging by six months.
According to a press statement seen by Kenyans.co.ke, the CS noted that since the 90-day moratorium on logging comes to an end on May 24, 2018, the extension of the ban is aimed at allowing the appointment of the new Kenya Forest Service (KFS) board.
Tobiko further stated that the six months will allow the Interim Reforms Implementation Committee to be finalised and start streamlining operations of the forest sector.
In February, the Government imposed a three-month logging ban in the country following a widespread outcry over the wanton and consistent loss of forest cover to logging.
Deputy President William Ruto ordered the immediate suspension of timber harvesting in all public and community forests for three months, directing the Ministry of Environment to ensure the ban is enforced.
Prior to that, the National Assembly committee on Environment had asked President Uhuru Kenyatta to declare logging a national disaster.
The committee further demanded that the government immediately bans logging and revoke loggers' licences.
Chaired by Maara MP Kereke Mbiuki, the lawmakers lamented that unchecked logging was responsible for the drying up of rivers in recent times.
“The destruction of our national forests through unchecked logging is having a devastating impact on our water towers, which are increasingly drying up.
“We are demanding the Kenya Forest Service revoke all existing logging licences [and] a multi-agency team undertakes a holistic audit of our country’s forest cover, which will inform the government utilisation plan in future,” stated Mbiuki.
The ban resulted in the escalation of prices of timber products and the cost of wooden poles doubled.
Builders who had acquired poles before the ban were also affected as the directive also covered transportation of timber.