Member of Parliament (MP) for Aoke-Langalanga Matthew Wale has cautioned the Ministry of Finance and Tresury (MoFT) on the revenue loss by government in the logging industry.
He raised this during the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) hearing into the 2018 national budget on Thursday, in the parliament conference room.
Mr Wale stressed that government seem to be doing nothing to stop corruption in the prices of round log exported overseas, which were sold for peanuts compared to its actual price in the world market.
He said revenues loss by government and landowners in the export of round logs amounted to millions since the actual prices in the world market revealed by the central bank is higher than the prices traded overseas by companies operated in Solomon Islands.
“What is wrong here?” Wale questioned. “Why the prices of round log exported overseas is not the same as the prices revealed by the Central Bank?” he further asked.
Wale told the delegation from the MoFT whice showed up at the PAC yesterday that ministry have to do something about this because government cannot allow the country’s resources to be traded overseas without selling them according to the actual value revealed in the global market.
He said, big revenue is lost in the logging industry from these tricks and cunning moves to avoid paying the true value of round logs.
He said the country has suffered a lot to keep the most needed services as health and education to reach the people, but could not afford this because of finances, yet we allow our round logs to be sold at cheap price compared to its real value.
He said our schools could not provide the basic resources for children’s learning and the state of the hospital is deteriorating but we continue to overlook the millions lost in the export of round logs, which could have used for health and education services.
Mr Wale said someone is being bribed here and he suspects some politicians might involve as well on this corrupt practices that is allowed to continue entertained in the logging industry.
He urged ministry of finance and other responsible authorities to look into this and make it a priority address it, in order to collect more revenues to meet the many commitments of the government that has been neglected because of no funding.
By AATAI JOHN LAUNGI