By EDDIE OSIFELO
SOLOMON Islands is seeing a sharp decline in its log exports.
The decline began in 2020, and this year saw a huge drop in the volume of log export.
In 2020, log export was 2.34 million cubic metres. In 2021, it dropped to 2.02 million cubic metres. This year, by June, it was 1.6 million cubic metres.
Among many things, this decline has been blamed on the covid-19 pandemic, which saw the closure of international borders.
Central Bank of Solomon Islands (CBSI) Governor, Dr Luke Forau confirmed this when asked by Independent Leader, John Dean Kuku when he appeared before the Public Accounts Committee in Parliament yesterday.
PAC was inquiring into the 2022 Supplementary Appropriation Bill 2022.
Forau said in 2020, the volume of logs declined to 2.344 million cubic metres.
He said in 2021 it was 2.020 million cubic metres.
“We may see continuous decline of the industry. This industry is a key mainstay of the government and the economy as well.
“I am sure the government is aware of this and there is policy put in place to intervene and come up with some alternatives to support us if this logging industry for instance suddenly stops,” he said.
Forau said it will have a severe impact on our economy.
Furthermore, Forau said on other commodities, volume contributes as well because of pandemic, no ship was able to come over to transport our products.
In the meantime, Forau said there is a $900 million deficit on 2022 Appropriation Bill passed in April this year.
He said almost half of it is to be met by donors.
“The other part, we are not privy to the information of the source of funds coming from.
“I know Government has several options to tap to breach the shortfall,” he added.
Moreover, Forau said there is a surplus on the Balance of Payment in 2021, up to June with $187 million deficit.
He said BOP has two components which is the current account and capital account.
“We more interest in current account because export and import featured in because it reflects in foreign reserves.
“I Stress importance to build a strong foreign reserve that rely on export,” he added.