By DALE LUMA
THE logging industry in the country is depressed with nothing on the horizon in the short-term to give confidence to industry players, according to PNG Forestry Industry Association (PNGFIA) president Bob Tate.
Tate said continuous taxation changes in the industry as well as a decline in market demand had impacted the logging sector. He said at the moment, the industry was producing around 2.5 million cubic metres annually, almost a 50 per cent decrease from just under four million cubic metres.
“The Government has taxed it (logging industry) out of existence,” Tate said.
“It’s no longer sustainable.
“In Western, Gulf and West Sepik, all factories are shut. Thousands of people have lost their jobs.
“Mills of various sizes open and close quite often depending on supply and demand and in round numbers probably 20 to 25 medium size mills are operating.”
Tate said previously there were about 40 mills operating in the country.
“No long supply, no mills operating.
“The biggest sawmills relied on having big logging operations, if logging becomes unsustainable, then there is no logs to put in the factories.
“Then there is the problem of where to sell them.
“We are on the receiving end of the collapse in demand in the world market.
“The industry is looking terrible, it is depressed with nothing in the horizon in the short term to give any confidence to industry players.
“We have been over the years asked the government for a taxation regime in the forest sector that restores sustainability in the long term, the tax rules change now and then and increasing.
“The government is now getting roughly 55 to 60 per cent of the industry turnover that’s unsustainable and driving industry to collapse.”
By DALE LUMA