– no evidence company signed investment agreement
Bai Shan Lin was reportedly approved US$70M to invest in a wood processing plant just off the Linden area. Instead it diverted the money to logging, gold and housing activities.
Bai Shan Lin which has several operations across the country, has been attracting attention not only because of its large logging operations but also the manner in which it acquired hundreds of thousands of hectares of state lands it now controls.
The delay in the wood processing plant has been questioned by critics and Opposition alike who say that the absence of an investment proposal has only worsened matters.
The US$70M was reportedly used to gain control of logging and mining lands.
Bai Shan Lin was leased a large area off Linden by the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL) for the proposed processing facility and for which it is paying a significant monthly rent on.
Guyana has been pushing for more value-added operations in the forestry sector but there is little evidence of how serious it is when it comes to monitoring Bai Shan Lin’s commitments and deadlines to make it happen.
With Bai Shan Lin expanding operations rapidly in recent years, there was a noticeable increase in forest products’ exports. Last year, it was reportedly more than 20 percent. And it is believed that log exports were mainly responsible.
The company came under the spotlight last year when Kaieteur News published photographs showing huge piles of logs in the Kwakwani, Berbice area ready for export.
Government and Bai Shan Lin downplayed the extent of the company logging operations saying that everything was above board.
But recent disclosures that Chu Hongbo the principal in Bai Shan Lin, acquired his Guyanese passport last year and now owns more than 50 percent of the company, has again raised questions.
It has also been reported that Bai Shan Lin used a Guyanese to acquire and hold around 700,000 hectares until Chu Hongbo became a national of Guyana last year.
With the delays of its wood processing operations, revelations that a Guyanese acquired the forestry concessions and the fact that Bai Shan Lin has gained a significant toehold in the gold mining sector, there has not been much word from Government as to how serious it is about value-added processing in Guyana.
Last year, exported logs earned $24.4M compared to US$12.5M in 2013.
Bai Shan Lin has been granted lands to build luxury homes at Providence as well as a mall.
It has also been granted significant duty free concessions on executive SUVs, and other equipment as well as tax holidays on basis of being tax gifts.
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