Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Guyana’s private sector to work with forestry body on log exports

The Forest Products Association (FPA) of Guyana has reached an agreement with the Minister of Agriculture and the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC) on the way forward on the export of logs.

The Private Sector Commission (PSC) and the Guyana Manufacturers and Services Association (GMSA) accompanied the FPA to a meeting with the Minister of Agriculture yesterday at the Ministry’s Boardroom.

The need for the meeting is believed to have arisen from statements emanating in the press concerning the status of log and wood products’ exportation and the concerns that these generated among stakeholders.

Speaking at a press conference yesterday held jointly by the PSC, FPA and GMSA at the PSC’s boardroom, Senior Vice Chairman of the FPA Mr. Khalawan said the letter that wood exports received from the Guyana Forestry Commission “was indeed very frightening and challenging because it would have impacted our businesses.”

“We would like to report that the Minister said that the letter was just an indication of concern that Government had with the industry, especially suppliers on the local building industry. Having met with him, we have agreed that that restriction will not apply for the export of lumber, logs and other forest produce,” he said.

“We agreed with him also as an action point that we will stick to the current log export policy, that is to say only concessionaires will be allowed to export logs that have originated from their concession,” he said.

Khalawan said the policy is being reviewed at the moment and it has the attention of both the Guyana Manufacturers and Services Association and the Forest Producers Association.

“We pointed out to the Minister that a lot of the concessions that people are sitting on are not productive. The Minister agreed that he would look to the Guyana Forestry Commission to reallocate those concessions that are not being fully utilized or that are being underutilized,” he said.

Executive Director of the PSC Roubinder Rambarran hailed the meeting between the Minister and the stakeholders as a very successful one. He said it outlined where there are investment opportunities in the forest sector.

“We need to know what our local demand is. [This will guide us as to] what percentage of our production can be exported,” Rambarran said.

The private sector and the Government have agreed to work jointly to resolve the issues at hand and also to enhance the sector, Rambarran pointed out.


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