Logging companies have claimed that the National Government has failed to take the lead in reforestation in logged out areas, despite imposing a 7% levy on logging companies to be used for reforestation, since 1983.

The Secretary of the Solomon Islands Forest Association (SIFA), Kaipua Tohibangu, said this while commenting on reports that the logging industry is likely to wind up in about five years time.

Tohibangu said that reports that the Solomon Islands would totally run out of commercially valuable forest in five years "is far from the truth." He said that any reference to the logging industry winding up operations only affects 12% of the country's commercially valuable forest resources.

The SIFA Secretary said that the country would have had sustainable logging had the Government took the lead in utilizing the 7%-timber levy first imposed by the Government in 1983 to meet reforestation.

Tohibangu said that since then the Government had not put the revenue raised from the 7% levy either for reforestation or rehabilitation of natural forests and while the Government failed to do this, it expected the logging companies to take the lead in reforestation.

He said that the Government also had the option to discuss the levy with loggers with the view of revising it upward, but the Government failed to do this possibly because it had not used the revenue for the intended purpose.