Jul 31, 2008 News
– Agriculture Ministry
Timber companies which do not have forestry concessions in Guyana, will not be allowed to export logs, Minister of Agriculture, Robert Persaud said yesterday.
This decision is in keeping with an announcement by President Bharrat Jagdeo to deter the exportation of the forest product and to allow for more value added activities in the country.
During a press conference yesterday, the Agriculture Minister said that the policy on the concession issue is ‘quite clear’ and if exporters do not have a concession they will not be granted permission to sell logs overseas.
“We are giving everyone ample notice…the policy takes effect from January next year. So if companies have arrangements in place, this is giving them adequate time to get themselves in order,” Minister Persaud said.
Some stakeholders, the Minister pointed out, think that ‘we are not serious’ and from past experiences act surprised when the implementation period arrives for changes in the sector.
“We want people to be prepared…we want persons who would have some form of arrangement to recognise that we have a policy. It is a very simple and practical policy and it derived from tremendous amount of consultation,” he added.
At least three companies are currently exporting logs without forestry concessions in Guyana.
Commenting on the announcement by President Jagdeo on Tuesday about the increased export commission on popular species of logs, Minister Persaud said that the log export policy is a mechanism to encourage much more value added production in the country.
“It is not a mechanism to increase more revenue…it is a way to make it much more competitive and much more profitable for the sector to utilise the raw materials and do the value added activities in Guyana.”
According to Persaud, the Guyana Forestry Commission will have examined the response by stakeholders to this new policy.
“The motive here is not to earn more…the motive is to encourage value added production within the industry. There will be tremendous national gains that we project will result from this policy.”
The increased export commission on the most popular species of logs is from two percent to seven percent.
The commission will increase to a further 10 percent in 2010, and 12 percent in 2011.
Over the next three years, Minister Persaud added, the GFC will be able to assess the impact of this policy and determine exporters processing capability.
This assessment would guide the next option as to whether they will leave the export commission at 12 percent or increase it or move in the direction of greater restriction, the Minister added.
“What happens by 2012 will be determined over the next three years…we will also be able to assess the impact of the policy. But it is intended that by 2011 we would have reviewed that position and be able to say what happens after 2011 in this regard.”
President Jagdeo announced on Tuesday that the export commission on popular species of logs is to be increased from January 2009.
President Jagdeo’s announcement followed a meeting with the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC) and the Forest Producers Association (FPA) at the Office of the President. (Tusika Martin)
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