THE National Executive Council (NEC) will soon decide on whether a State agency will be set up to promote and market Papua New Guinea’s forest products abroad.
“The agency will represent the State, and already, we have three firms who have registered their interests,” Dambis Kaip, PNG Forest Authority’s policy and aid coordination manager, said.
He could not name the firms but indicated that confirmation would be issued if the draft, undergoing final touches by the authority, was approved by NEC.
They are believed to be overseas-based firms.
Forests Minister Belden Namah, who sponsored the “national forestry development guidelines”, has said it was time for PNG to take a proactive approach in marketing forest products.
He added in his forward to the guidelines: “PNG is determined to try to improve market returns for its forest products.”
Mr Namah said the agency would operate under the direction of the Forest Authority “as an arms’ length entity” that would report to the National Forest Board through the managing director of the National Forest Service.
The agency will be required to secure independent market intelligence reports for market verifications.
It will also be a vehicle for PNG to move into carbon trading activities.
Mr Namah also called for log exports to be phased out.
The forest industry’s direct contribution to the annual development and recurrent budget programmes from export duty were about K127 million (2008), K155 million (2007), K168 million (2006), K130 million (2005) and K104 million in 2004.
It also contributes over K350 million a year to PNG’s gross domestic product.