Solomons warned about unsustainable logging
Honiara, Solomon Islands The International Monetary Fund is urging the Solomon Islands Government to cut-down on logging as harvesting rate is several times more than the sustainable rate.
An IMF delegation is in town and had consultations with the Government and Central Bank of Solomon Islands (CBSI) with a clear message to cut back on the logging pace.
"It is important to exploit resources in a sustainable way because otherwise they will be exploited and there's nothing left for the future generations," said Deputy Division Chief Asia and Pacific Department of IMF, Ms Laura Papi.
The sustainable rate as calculated by the forestry division is estimated to be about 250 cubic metres a year but last year's logging was 1 million.
The IMF predicts that this year's rate is likely to be higher than four times the sustainable rate.
And Ms Papi believes that a sharp decline in logging will likely to hurt the economic growth.
"A projected sharp decline in logging is the major challenge that the economy will face in the next few years.
"At current felling rates the natural forests will be depleted much sooner than earlier envisaged and within the next five to six years," said the economist.
The IMF has strongly suggested to the Government to take action now to broaden the economic growth so that new resources of growth, employment, exports and government revenues can emerge to replace logging.
Despite the logging fears the economy has enjoyed a steady growth in the past year.
Ms Papi said the GDP growth was about 6 percent in 2006, driven by palm oil, fish, logging and services whilst inflation has remained in single digits and the budget in surplus.
She said international reserves are at adequate levels as the large external current account deficit is being covered by substantial aid flows and private FDI, mostly in the palm oil and gold mine projects.
Meanwhile, the mission proposes that the government save any extra revenue collected in 2007 and keep the recurrent expenditure strictly within budget and ensure that it obtains its fair share of revenue from logging by raising the determined price of logs the price used to access export duties due without further delay.
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