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Commissioner of Forest urges journalist to stop misleading public

COMMISSIONER of Forest, Reeves Moveni urges veteran journalist Alfred Sasako to stop misleading the public with incorrect information in the media.

And that he should verify information on whatever issues of concern with the Ministry of Forest and Research before putting it fully cooked, than just any half cooked information for public consumption.

Sasako claimed in the Island Sun Newspaper that the office of the Commissioner has ignored a moratorium on new logging companies and licences, a decision endorsed by the cabinet.

Moveni said the 24 new licences mentioned are incorrect and misleading.

“The correct statement should be, new felling licences are issued but not to any new foreign companies as the moratorium has been implemented by the Ministry starting January this year.

“Only those local resource owners were exempted under this moratorium,” explains the Commissioner.

He explains further that felling licence was first issued to all logging companies on submissions of applications prior to enforcing the Legal Notice 114 – Forest Resource and Timber Utilisation (Timber Licensing and Tree Felling) Regulation 2007.

“This includes non-members of Solomon Forest Association (SFA), and when this moratorium was implemented all those companies were issued notice to wind down their operations as of January 2017.

“Most of which now have their licences already been cancelled.

“Licensees are also being asked to replace non-registered SFA members with existing SFA members,” he said.

The Commissioner said, “There are definitely no new felling licences issued to new foreign logging companies or non SFA members. For registering a new company as claimed by Sasako is not the responsibility of the Ministry of Forest and Research; it’s the Ministry of Commerce that deals with that.”

Ministry of Forest and Research Permanent Secretary, Vaeno Vigulu said as for the environmental assessment report mentioned, that is true.

Currently, the Ministry of Forestry and Research has no powers whatsoever on that regard and is working on the review of the Forestry Act for its inclusion, he said.

“The review and amendment to the Forestry Act should give clear directives to any environment assessment in relation to forest development,” said the Permanent Secretary.

Mr Vigulu added his ministry has not at any point of time ignored any cabinet decision as yet, but is very much working closely to ensure government policies is implemented.