Govt will still impose export tax: Forestry Minister

The Government will be imposing the increase on export tax on timber industries despite threats of the industry shutting its operations.

Minister for Forestry, Solan Mirisim, announced this in Port Moresby on Tuesday.

Threats by the PNG Forest Industries Association to shut down operations of its members if export tax for round logs increases, has not moved the government one bit.

Mirisim said the export tax increase has been passed and will be imposed at the start of February 2020.

Minister Mirisim stated the increase was done to encourage downstream processing by logging companies.

“We want our people to participate in downstream processing and support SMEs in rural areas.”

The current export tax rate is on average 35 percent. The new export tax rate is effectively 59 percent; a massive 70 percent tax rate increase.

Minister Mirisim said logging companies will now be put to the test to see who the genuine investors are.

“The door is open for the logging companies if they want to cease operations and move out,” he stated.

PNG Forest Authority Managing Director, Tunou Sabuin, believes the decision to increase export tax rate is economical.

“We were not consulted either but looking at the proposed tax increase, it is good for the country and the Government.” 

In a recent media statement, the PNG Forest Industries Association condemned the proposed tax increase in export levy and threatened to shut down operations in the country.

(Minister for Forestry, Solan Mirisim, with PNG Forest Authority Managing Director, Tunou Sabuin)

Freddy Mou