Communities across the country that have given up their forests for logging are missing out on promised infrastructure development because K130 million held by the government has disappeared…
Source: Post Courier
The PNG Eco-Forestry Forum and its members throughout the country are calling on the Minster for Forestry Douglas Tomuriesa to show what has become of the K130 million promised to the local people who are affected by industrial logging.
The PNG Eco-Forestry Forum Chairperson Cosmas Makamet asked Minister Tomuriesa to “Tell the Truth” about the status of the Log Export Development Levy (LEDL) Funds, held in trust for the local communities who are affected by industrial logging.
Mr Makamet responded to a news article on p4 of The National Newspaper on the 26th of October 2015 that the Minister boasts of logging areas in PNG that will be enjoying the benefits of their LEDL Funds through infrastructure and other development projects.
“The Forum raised the debate nine months ago when the Minister last spoke of the funds as being in “safe hands”. “We (The PNG Eco-Forestry Forum) and the members would like to ask the Minister to come clear with what has become of the LEDL Funds totalling K130 million that was held in Trust accounts at PNG Forest Authority (PNGFA). The Minister must now show evidence that the said funds are safe,” he said.
Mr Makamet said the Minister has to give assurance to the affected communities that their funds are secure and services are forthcoming.
“We are concerned because since the Minister’s last statement on the LEDL funds in February 2015, local communities have still been waiting. We raised these concerns in March 2015 which we would like to raise again,” he said.
Mr Makamet said LEDL funds are comprise of K8 per round log exports collected at each point of vessel outward clearance by Customs and kept in Trust administered by Secretaries of Finance, Planning and Monitoring and Managing Director of PNG Forest Authority, specifically intended to provide socio-economic and community based services, such as agriculture and infrastructure development projects in the logging areas in the country.