Wednesday, 21 May 2008 1:54 PM

No Log Exports: Loggers Protest

There is fear of a mass redundancy exercise, and stockpile of logs, by logging companies currently operating in the country, in protest of the increase in determined price for logs carried out by the government.

Sources within the government have stated that certain logging companies have warned the government of likely actions if the government refuses to listen to their demand. Logging companies are petitioning the government on the likely actions they will take should the government increase the determined price from US$71 to the proposed new rate of US$78.

The logging companies have stated that the increase of determined price, along with the increase in the minimum wage, have made operations in the country very expensive. The loggers have warned that they will refuse to export all logs and threatened to carry out a mass redundancy exercise. They have also warned of taking other measures if the government fails to listen.

Our source stated that the government will remain firm with the increase and have advised the loggers that there will only be a review of the determined price after 3 months. The review, to be carried out in August, will be done by independent bodies including the Central Bank of Solomon Islands and the Civil Society.

Our source said that the government is prepared to take possession of the logs and mill them into timbers if the logging companies refuse to export them. The government have talked the matter over with donors on a possible fall back plan to avert a possible disaster.

The source said the government is aware of the power logging companies have had in the past in influencing the politics of the country. They are ensuring that similar incidents will not happen again this time.

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