Tuesday, 29 April 2008 8:40 AM

Government Puts Measures to Protect Forests

Government is putting in place a number of measures in efforts to save the country's forests from over exploitation and total destruction.

The measures were announced last Friday by the acting minister for Finance and Treasury Gordon Darcy Lilo and his counterpart Sir Allan Kemakeza, the minister for Forestry.

Mr Lilo, who is the minister for Environment and Conservation said under the environment act, all logging companies are required to review their public environment reports.

He said this means companies which failed to produce environment reports to a standard acceptable under the environment act will have their licence recommended for cancellation by the minister for Forestry.

Mr Lilo said all companies in the logging, mining and agriculture sectors have been notified that before they commence any operation, they must obtain a public environment report.

Minister for Forestry, Sir Allan said government also issued a directive to the Foreign Investment Board not to consider any new application for logging operations in the country.

He said this measure was communicated to the Foreign Investment Board three months ago.

Sir Allan said government is polishing up existing legislation on logging operators which will eventually lead to a few good and reputable companies remaining in the country.

Both ministers announced an increase in the determined value for export of round logs to 178-US dollars as of May the first.

Minister Lilo said the increase in price should slow down the rate of harvesting of timber resources and time for government to clean up the industry.