by Mickey Kavera – EM TV News, Port Moresby
The government, through the Environment and Conservation Authority, has issued stop work orders to two logging companies operating in Oro, Northern Province.
The two companies, Yema Gaiapa Developers Limited and Viva Success Limited, have been found to have breached the Environment Act.
This follows an investigation directed by Chief Secretary, Sir Manasupe Zurenuoc, in October this year into the operations of the companies.
“No ifs, and or buts, if there are valid claims that a company is involved in illegal logging we will shut down their operation and investigate,” Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill said.
“While the Government is doing all we can to improve governance within the Forestry sector, there are others who have no respect for the laws of this country, or respect for the rights of the resource owners of this country.
“A range of concerns have been reported by landowners including allegations that Yema Gaiapa Developers Limited and Viva Success Limited, at the border of Oro and Morobe provinces, have acted in a way that warrants further investigation,” he added.
The Prime Minister said the national government would continue to provide the necessary leadership to nurture and improve governance in all resource sectors, including the forestry sector, which has been mismanaged for many years.
“Our government has placed a moratorium on new licences for round log exports.
“We are also working with key stakeholders and Development Partners to improve the capacity, operations and effectiveness of the National Forest Authority.
“The NFA is mandated with the responsibility of ensuring effective governance of our forestry sector,” O’Neill said.
Papua New Guinea has the third biggest rainforest in the world, and the government is working closely with development partners and international organisations to enhance forest management.
“We recently hosted the APEC Forestry Ministers’ Meeting in Port Moresby that advanced mechanisms for regional leaders to work together to enhance governance within the forestry sector.
“We have furthered these initiatives at the recent Philippines APEC Leaders Meeting, and these issues were also discussed at the Paris Climate Change conference.
“Papua New Guinea is determined to implement good governance and sustainability in our forestry sector and move beyond the mismanagement of the past,” he said.
Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill, urged all stakeholders, including provincial governments, local level governments, landowner companies and their foreign partners to work closely with the national government.
“We need to all strive to improve governance within this very important sector, and protect the interests of our people and the countries,” O’Neill said.