Districts told to account for log levies

National

PAPUA New Guinea Forest Authority is calling on past and current MPs whose district development authorities received funds under the log export development levy to acquit them.
PNGFA managing director and chairman of the log export development levy (LEDL) trustees committee, Tunou Sabuin, made this call as part of the 100-day plan for forestry.
Since Sabuin took office last March, he placed a ban the following month on the disbursement of additional LEDL funds until those paid out were acquitted.
He made the decision after seeing K100.6 million was paid out to various district treasuries on behalf of MPs up until 2015.
However, acquittals for these funds were not forthcoming except for four MPs in the last parliament namely Anton Yagama (Usino-Bundi), Solan Mirisim (Telefomin), Francis Marus (Talasea) and Ben Micah (Kavieng).
The K100.6 million excludes K8 million paid out in 2015 for the mv Rabaul Queen inquiry.
PNGFA recently sent letters to the districts concerned to follow up on the progress of their acquittals.
Sabuin stressed that those who have benefitted from LEDL funds in the past must acquit them in order for funding to be made available again for service delivery for eligible projects within timber project areas.
The LEDL is a project financing facility established to provide tangible and durable benefits to people whose natural forests have been acquired by the State for commercial logging.
It was enacted in the 2007 Budget Appropriation Bill and the LEDL collections started in Janaury 2007.
The LEDL facility is financed by a K8 per cubic metre levy on exports of unprocessed logs from natural forests.
The levy is not collected from export of plantation logs and not on exports of sawn timber and processed commercial wood products such as plywood.
The LEDL came about because of the Government’s decision to ensure that despite the reduction of log export tax at that time, tangible development in infrastructure and agriculture must be maintained and enhanced.

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