BY JENNIFER KUSAPA
ISABEL Premier Leslie Kikolo says about 51 percent of the provincial revenue is collected from logging royalty and licenses.
He said the total revenue collection makes up 57 percent in total, which is half of its revenue collected, while only six percent through other local collections.
“I understand, that there is no simple solution to transition from the logging industry, my government has envisage attracting foreign investment for tourism, the mining sector, agriculture and fisheries,” Kikolo said.
He said it is a fact that the current revenue regime is unstainable and his government are doing their best to redesign by looking at investing into the six percent revenue collection.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare said Isabel Province is second only to Western Province in production of round logs.
“From an economic perspective this is good but we all know that the current rate of logging is unsustainable, not only that, but we are also concerned about the social problems that came with logging which is on the rise.
“We have had situations where families are fighting each other because of land disputes, this ugly side of logging is a reminder that we cannot continue to rely on logging,” Sogavare said.
He said logging is an industry that needs to be reformed and better managed and the government is working on a new Forestry Bill, which should be presented to Parliament soon.
Sogavare also acknowledged the province’s idea for re-forestation on areas that have been logged.
“This is something that we would like to further develop and improve on especially as we put more focus towards rehabilitating and restoring our over-logged areas,” Sogavare said.