Forestry not aware of $1m for Kolo trust fund


MINISTRY of Forestry and Research is not aware of the $1 million allocation for Kolombangara Land Trust Fund in Western Province.

Minister Dickson Mua Panakitasi confirmed this when asked by Leader of Opposition, Mathew Wale during the committee of supply of the 2023 budget, in Parliament.

Mua said there is no consultation with the ministry has an impact on 2023 budget for reforestation.

He said the additional injection has reduced the ministry’s budget.

Chairman of Public Accounts Committee, Douglas Ete urged the Minister to ask for supplementary for other farmers in the country.

Mua said definitely as there are about 25 associations the ministry used to assist through the reforestation and programmes in natural regeneration.

Further to that, Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare was also surprised to see there was no consultation with the Ministry of Forestry and Research, before the matter came before Cabinet to assist the people of Kolombangara.

However, Sogavare said this is an outstanding issue since 1992 when the issues came before Cabinet for the Government to assist them because of their contribution to the national economy.

He said this is a matter where the MFR, Ministry Finance and Treasury and Office of Prime Minister and Cabinet need to sit down and discuss.

Wale said there is no denying the people of Kolombangara should be supported, however the budget process needs to look at so that everyone is one the same playing field.

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