A landowner business group in remote East New Britain province say they are seeing positive results from logging activities in their area.
Panakol Limited, a company made up of two ILGS from the Lasul Baining LLG say despite all the negative impacts of logging, they are making sure the Log Export Development Levy derived from the logging companies is put to use.
The landowner group has taken this approach after a failure by successive governments to deliver much needed services.
Every month, several thousand tons of trees are logged and shipped to overseas markets.
At Valmatki, in the Lasul Baining LLG of East New Britain, the landowners have come together and formed a landowner business group and called it, Panakol Limited.
And with assistance from the PNG Forest Authority, they are making sure every cubic meter of log that is being harvested from their land is paid for, through the Log Export Development Levy.
The money they make goes towards funding education, health, roads and to take care of the general well being of the people in their community.
Panakol Limited Chairman, Henry Saminga Junior highlighted some projects they intend to carry out this year.
“We want our people to have a good living standard. For education, by Christmas we should carry out maintenance work on the school infrastructures and prepare them for next year”.
Over the years, the Development levy has failed to improve the lives of the people in logging rich areas of Papua New Guinea as much of the money generated from the exported logs are misused.
But for the Valmatki people, their registered ILG group has played an important part in making sure that the money taxed from their logs comes back to them.
And over the past two years they have seen positive results.
Over the weekend, the landowner group launched two new classrooms for their elementary school and four staff houses for the teachers.
“Without the leadership of your chairman and your understanding and cooperation, these projects won’t happen,” said East New Britain Governor Nakikus Konga.
Valmatki is a remote region.
The shortest route into the area is on a two hours boat ride.
Over the years, they have been plagued with poor government service delivery in the areas of health, education and road infrastructures.
The launching of the new elementary classroom and the teachers’ houses are two of many other developments that have taken place in this logging region over the years using the money they generated through the Log Export Development Levy.
It may not be seen as much, but for the people here, it is one of their greatest achievements, they built for themselves using the money they made from their own resources.