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SOLOMON Islands’ logging industry watchdog, Solomon Forest Association (SFA), has commended the Government’s efforts in staying the course to clean up the industry.
SFA’s comments come as the Government issues seizure orders in a bid to stop suspected illegal operations in Western and Renbel provinces.
The seizure orders, issued last Friday, meant that the Commissioner of Forest now has the power to confiscate machineries and equipment as well as felled logs suspected of being illegally cut.
It is understood that an estimated 26, 000 cubic metres of round logs are lying in West Rennell. The quantity of the consignment in Western Province is unknown.
In a statement issued yesterday, the SFA said enough is enough.
The powerful forest industry body said the logging industry cannot continue to be a playground for suspected illegal operators, whose activities are often swept under the carpet.
“The time has come and it is now a matter to be tackled head-on. In this regard, we applaud the courage shown by the Government in pushing ahead with the clean-up,” the statement said.
“We have made it clear from the beginning that we are determined to clean up the logging industry in this country.
“We are pleased to note that despite difficulties, which are expected, the Government is moving ahead in the clean-up campaign,” the statement added.
“The SFA is 100 per cent behind the Government’s war on suspected illegal logging operations in the country, such as in Western and Renbel provinces,” the statement said.
The statement said the SFA believes that the action by the Government would help discourage illegal logging practices which had brought disrepute on the industry while promoting unsustainable harvesting activities in the absence of effective regulatory enforcement.
“We are pleased that the seizure orders issued last week are consistent with the Government’s reform agenda, which highlights compliance with the rule of law and encourages sustainable practices and accountability within the industry.
“Our support is unwavering and we remain staunchly behind the DCC Governments intentions to hold all logging operators within the Solomon’s accountable for their actions without fear or favour,” the statement said.