33 logging licences suspended in 2 years

By Gary Hatigeva

Minister of Forestry and Member of Parliament for Gao/Bughotu, Samuel Manetoali

THE government has in the last two years suspended a total of 33 licences of logging operations within the country, the Minister of Forest and Research, Samuel Manetoali told parliament.

In its resumption, with its usual question and answer session, parliament received questions from the Member of Parliament for Aoke/Langalanga, Matthew Wale, who asked for the minister to clarify the number of suspensions the Commissioner of lands had issued to logging licences in 2017 and 2018.

The Aoke/Langalanga MP also questioned the Minister as to how many of the suspended licences, he as minister has lifted.

In his response, Manetoali told parliament that a total of 18 licences were suspended in 2017 and 15 this year, but further revealed that out of the total number, 11 of those from last year were lifted, while 12 suspensions were lifted in 2018.

But as revealed, in 2017 suspension on seven licences were never lifted while in 2018, three suspended licences were never lifted, making a total of 10 licences not being given the green light to resume.

Wale however questioned what had happened to the licences that their suspensions were never lifted, and further questioned the criteria used to suspend and qualified to be lifted thereafter.

When responding to the questions, the Forest Minister explained that in most cases, suspensions were due to breach in code of practices or other related regulations in the logging industry under the forestry Act.

He said when a licence is suspended, the affected parties appeal to the minister to lift the suspensions and the suspension is for the company to ratify the highlighted cases that have indicated breaches regulations and all related areas, and it is from there the suspended licence can be lifted

It is for the parties involved to ensure their status under the suspensions are ratified in order to get their licences reinstated, and that will include meeting all requirements to clear their cases.

He added that suspended licenses can also be lifted if matters related to the licences are before the courts.

He however pointed out that in the case where suspensions on licences were never lifted, they are because the licences or companies involved, were or are never members of the Solomon Forest Association (SFA).

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