REGIONAL Director Pacific Islands for US-based Earth Island Institute, Lawrence Makili, claims there is a bigger and hidden issue behind the government’s ministerial reshuffling this week.
And he urged the government to quickly reduce the number of logging companies currently operating in the country and stop further applications.
He also claimed the reshuffling exercise was a perfect move by some big players within the logging industry.
“It’s not only conflict of interest, it’s more than that,” Mr Makili said, referring to the removal of Bodo Dettke from the Ministry of Forestry and Research.
Mr Makili said there were logging companies connected with some cabinet ministers that were behind the exercise.
“I might not be exact but the possibility is there,” he said.
He said the only way out to such dubious dealing is for the government to start reducing the number of logging companies currently operating in the country.
“There is no common sense to having an increasing number of logging companies to operate in the country whilst there is limited concession areas earmarked.
“Logically, concession areas are fewer than the number of logging companies; and whilst this is so, fight for these limited concession areas is the biggest problem.
“This is where most logging companies became attached to politicians who then influenced decisions at the cabinet level.
“This is serious and as the declining harvesting of trees is becoming evident due to unsustainable cutting, this concern should be considered foremost.
“This is one aspect the government has failed to be quick in finding a solution.”
Mr Makili added the government must be cautious on this and take a bold step to reduce the rate of logging.
According to a World Bank report, Solomon Islands have harvested or cut down trees beyond sustainability at millions per cubic per year and has call for a reduction.
World Bank suggested and pushes for below a thousand per cubic per year in order to maintain a sustainable level of harvesting.
Mr Makili said at the current rate, the country’s loggable forest will be gone in four to five years’ time.
“It’s therefore wise to reduce logging companies.”
By BRADFORD THEONOMI