Despite promises, foreign loggers run amok
16 February 2022
| Campaign Manager | Act Now!
PORT MORESBY - The Marape government’s claims that it has stopped issuing new log export licences to foreign-owned logging companies are not borne out by the evidence.
Nor are its statements that it is moving to 100% downstream processing of logs before they are exported.
According to the government’s own data, 16 new foreign-operated log export operations have started since 2020.
This contradicts the prime minister’s claims that under his government new log export licences have been given to only locally owned businesses.
Nine of the new operations started in 2020 and another seven in 2021. The latest to be licenced exported its first logs in October last year.
Over half the new operations were falsely licensed as ‘agriculture projects’, previously found to be riddled with corruption.
The SABL Commission of Inquiry found that the false promise of agriculture projects was routinely used by foreign-owned logging companies to fraudulently acquire export licences and then clear large tracts of forest.
Current log export data shows it is very likely the same abuses are continuing.
According to government figures, the new logging operations were responsible for over 20% of all unprocessed log exports in 2021.
Their operations are spread across seven different provinces: five in West Sepik, four in West New Britain, two each in East New Britain and Central, and one each in Oro, New Ireland and Western.
Act Now, as a community advocacy organisation, fully supports the government’s policy to stop unprocessed log exports by 2025 in favour of 100% downstream processing.
But the facts show the PNG Forest Authority is misleading the prime minister and is failing to implement government policy.
The Forest Authority is a rogue institution that has been instrumental in orchestrating the illegal and unsustainable logging of our forests for the past 30 years.
Clearly it cannot be trusted to implement government policy or protect our forests.
The PNGFA should be abolished and a new government institution set up under a completely new Forestry Act.
Such measures are the only way we can ever ensure the sustainable management of PNG’s rich forest resources and the development of secure, well paid jobs based on downstream processing.
It seems the Christian PM is also in hock to the loggers, as were his predecessors.
Posted by: Arthur Williams | 16 February 2022 at 11:47 PM