Loggers defying court ban: NGO

In its research, the non-government organisation (NGO) discovered that together, the logging operations accounted for 40 percent of Papua New Guinea’s total log exports in the twelve months from July 2021.

“The Court order calls for ‘an immediate ban’ on any logging in Timber Rights Purchase (TRP) areas until the Forest Authority, and a number of other government agencies, provide the court with a series of detailed reports on all logging operations in the country,” outlined Act Now!

Report Calls Out Banks

The report reveals that these financial institutions have offered at least K300 million in available credit to the five largest exporters of tropical logs in PNG since 2000.

The report is titled The Money behind the Chainsaws was jointly compiled by ACT Now! and Jubilee Australia. According to ACT Now! Campaign Manager, Eddie Tanago, the money given by the banks to logging companies may be higher.

Court Halts Logging In Musa

Governor for Oro Gary Juffa has applauded the move, saying MUSA CENTURY LTD and MUSA VALLEY MANAGEMENT have been prevented from logging activities including the shipment of logs from the area for a period of 90 days, until issues pertaining to the concerns of the landowners are addressed.

In a media statement from the office of the Governor, the landowners are being supported by the Oro Provincial Government for their stance and legal services will be part of that support as per the arrangements in place by Oro Provincial Government with NGO CELCOR.

Ban tax-evading loggers: Group

Campaign manager Eddie Tanago says if logging companies are unlawfully evading taxes then the Forest Authority and the Minister must step in to stop these companies from accessing our forest.               

In a recent press release by the Internal Revenue Commission, IRC Commissioner General, Sam Koim, slammed logging companies for stealing from PNG’s forests.

He says the companies are evading taxes by under-declaring their real incomes.

Logging firms told to pay up

Minister Schnaubelt sounded the warning following failure by most companies and operations to meet their obligations under various agreements.

He said these companies are fully aware of the legal ramifications associated with non-compliance of their legal obligations as stipulated under the agreements and the underlying laws of the country governing the forestry sector.

“Many of these companies are not new to the fact that they have to abide by the legal requirements of the operating and export sales agreements,” Schnaubelt explained.

Bridge collapses under heavy load

Locals claimed the bridge collapsed as a result of the heavy load considering it had exceeded the maximum weight that the bridge could hold.

Murukanam Bridge is the only bridge that provides an important link by connecting Bogia and Sumkar to Madang Township, and it also links Morobe, Highlands and Sepik region.

The company’s logging point is located between Mangem Care Centre and Bunabum Health Centre where all the round logs are loaded and transported to Central Madang then shipped overseas.

Govt will still impose export tax: Forestry Minister

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.”

Govt to stop issuance of logging licences

The government will be putting a stop to the issuance of all new logging licence.

Telefomin MP Solan Mirisim, who resigned as Defence Minister under the O’Neill led government, has been allocated the Forest Ministry.

His first task is to ensure new logging licences are only issued to landowner companies.

“New licence must be given to landowner companies. That is the challenge given to the forest minister and I make no apologies to anyone,” he said.

Suspend logging: Landowners

Some of these landowners were in Port Moresby recently and aired their grievances, which they highlighted were long overdue.

Lawrence Komboguru, a spokesperson for the group, said more than 20 years has passed without the much-needed traces of development and infrastructure or services in one of the oldest logging areas in East Sepik Province.

The Hawain LFA landowners have raised their concerns many times, even at the provincial level, but to no avail.

​Fish, logs to be processed on shore: PM

Speaking during the Australia-Papua New Guinea Business Council Forum in Port Moresby today, O’Neill said it is the Government’s intention to have on-shore and downstream processing facilities for both the fisheries and logging sectors.

He said less than 25 percent of all fish caught in PNG waters were processed in PNG, meaning the country was losing out on around K350 million per annum.