Papua New Guinea forestry sector at risk
PNG Forest Industries Association (PNGFIA) executive officer Bob Tate, has warned that the forestry industry is on the brink of disaster, due to weak global prices and rising taxes.
Thousands of landowners have already witnessed forestry projects shutting down and royalties disappearing, and the worst maybe yet to come.
Mr Tate said this following the PNGFIA second yearly meeting, last week.
Landowners in hundreds of communities in the country rely on royalties and levies from timber projects, and on health and education services supported by the operators.
At the beginning of 2017, the industry provided 15,000 jobs with another 25,000 jobs supported indirectly on the operations. These incomes have already begun to vanish, as have government tax revenues.
Falling demand and rising taxes have resulted in the loss of more than 2000 jobs, mostly in remote communities. Royalties and levies paid to landowners are also down almost K8 million, and taxes paid to government have been slashed by more than K32 million since the start of 2017.
"PNG's timber companies are doing it tough. Export prices for tropical logs are down 12 per cent, and volumes exported have fallen by 16 per cent, compared with last year to less than two million cubic metres," Mr Tate said.
He said as a result, foreign exchange earnings are sharply down.
Source: Post Courior
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