The Government through the Ministry of Forestry and Research (MOFR) will not issue any more felling licenses to newly registered foreign companies that intend to carryout logging activities in the country.
This step is taken to control the influx of foreign logging companies that showed interest to participate in logging activities and to control illegal entry into unlicensed concession forest areas.
At the same time the Government also wants to ensure resource owners enjoy maximum benefits from their forest resources.
This control measure will also assist the MOFR to account for all logs felled, extracted and shipped offshore to niche markets.
This control measure will be carried out by the introduction and implementation of the Legal Notice 114 which was recommended to the Ministry of Forestry and Research by the Solomon Forest Association (SFA) – a body that assists the MOFR in regulating logging activities since March 15th 2007.
Apart from the moratorium on issuing licenses to foreign logging companies, the Ministry will also carefully monitor all Technical Agreements (TA) signed between Resource Owners and Logging Companies to ensure licensees and logging companies negotiate and provide standard agreements or TA’s that maximize benefits to the resource owners.
“We are working closely with the Solomon Forest Association (SFA) to monitor the current situation and now we will not issue any more new felling licenses to newly registered foreign companies,” said the Permanent Secretary, Vaeno Vigulu.
The Government believes that controlling the Forest Sector is critical to ensuring our forests are sustainably harvested by genuine and well behaved logging companies, while, at the same time provide an opportunity for resource owners to gain maximum benefits from their remaining and regenerating forest resources.
Additional control measures being proposed will also include the introduction of criteria to establish a minimum standard of compliance for logging companies that will be applied to industry operators throughout the country.
This will also give Resource Owners the opportunity to obtain felling licenses if they meet the necessary requirements, allowing them to directly benefit from utilizing their own resources to create a variety of development opportunities.
The Ministry of Forestry and Research will soon further inform and update all registered logging companies about the implementation of the Legal Notice 114.