COMPANIES and members of the logging Industries including the Solomon Forest Association had recently been consulted on the ongoing consultation review of the current Forest Resources and Timber Utilisation Act (FRTUA).
The review of the FRTUA is an undertaking mandated by the previous DCC Government with continuous support by the successive SIDCC Government through the Ministry of Forestry and Research.
Opening the one day consultation, Ministry of Forestry and Research Permanent Secretary Dr Vaeno Vigulu says governments over the past were reluctant on reviewing one of the very important legislations that helps govern the management, utilisation, rehabilitation and protection of our forest resources especially timber.
We are grateful that this time around we’re doing it again with confidence it will make it through parliament once its draft and finalised, he says.
The Permanent Secretary adds emphasising the importance of the forestry sector that generated much of the government revenues in the past decades until recently.
“The last five years, an average of 2 million m3 of round logs were exported which represents less than SBD $600 million annually over the period which represents approximately 40 – 50 percent of the government revenues.
“That showed, forestry sector is the major driver of the economy of this country. 2016 being the peak at 2.7 million m3 of logging history since the first trees were exported from Solomon Islands in 1924 from Vanikoro Island, Temotu.
“To date, the harvest may be five times unsustainable compared to the 400,000 m3 of annual sustainable cut.”
Dr Vigulu says this is why the government is looking into ways to sustain the forest to making sure there is balance strike in-between to benefiting all users of the forest and its resources.
Doing so the government is also looking into promoting non-timber forest products and aesthetic values to support livelihoods to reduce reliance on timber products and to promote sustainable forest management to progressively support the economy in the long run, he says.
He then emphasises the importance of the logging industries members’ constructive contributions to this review as a development partner and user of forest vital.
“See where our Act’s don’t align and if these non-alignments have caused negative impacts on your activities. This is your chance to share it and we can capture them in the ongoing review.
“What you see from your window might not be seen by us, thus this is your opportunity to highlight them,” said PS Vigulu.
The Permanent Secretary adds, the Ministry is keen to make this a good review and ensure developing a Forestry Bill or Act that is vibrant and addresses the current including the contemporary issues.