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Forestry denies former commissioner’s billion-dollar claim

THE Ministry of Forest and Research says the claimed former forestry commissioner, Kennedy Hoda got it all wrong in his interpretation.

In an issued statement, the forestry office says although some of the issues raised are true in nature, he should have known better the constraints faced as a one-time commissioner and a coordinator for logging company himself.

Kennedy Hoda alleged in the Island Sun Newspaper yesterday that government may have lost a billion dollars or more in logging revenue as a result of lack of monitoring.

He also claims with the reduction of logging companies here, there is less revenue for the government.

“…the more companies you process, the more revenue there is for government. But that is not happening.”

The forestry office response statement says, measures are undertaken as means to make proper sustainable harvesting of the forest resources.

That is the sole reason as to why number of logging companies has to be reduced; with the implementation and enforcement of the Legal Notice 114 – Forest Resource and Timber Utilisation (Timber Licensing and Tree Felling) Regulation 2007, it says.

“There is no better timing than now in implementing the measures, ensure there is sustainable harvesting of the current available forest resources,” the statement says.

It then clarifies that there is no preference in choosing companies in this essence, the straight forward requirement was clear – to be a member of Solomon Forest Association (SFA).

Exactly why the number of companies is reducing; and is not at all directly affects the government’s revenue as claimed, it says.

“To be in-charge, have fair and good control in managing our current available forest resources is what matters and still contribute enough to the government’s revenue.”

The statement adds as a one-time commissioner and a coordinator of logging company, Kennedy Hoda should have known better the constraints.

The Forestry Office with its tight resources it has is doing all it can in building the capacity of its monitoring mechanism but is at times beyond capabilities.

These, are no new issues but the Ministry is happy to have made significant progress in every areas to making sure it carries out its mandate, says the forestry office.

“This includes the current ongoing consultation on the review of the Forestry Act which will sure help to alleviate some of the issues raised,” says the Forestry Office.