13 Jul 2006

Solomons top banker urges logging rethink

1:41 pm on 13 July 2006

Solomon Islands Central Bank Governor, Rick Hou says better legislation is needed to regulate logging.

He says resource owners aren't getting the maximum benefits from logging and the country's dependence on logging is leading to an economic disaster

Last year, Solomon Islands extracted 1.1 million cubic metres of logs, the highest ever for the country.

Over the same period, log exports accounted for two thirds of the country's total exports.

Mr Hou says at the current rate of harvesting, the country's forests will last for only six years.

"There should be laws and regulations strengthened to ensure that we derive maximum benefit out of it. And with this windfall gain we should be investing in other areas."

Rick Hou says such areas include helping resource owners to replant trees and improve infrastructure such as roads and buildings.

He says he hopes the new government will re-visit a revised Forestry Act to ensure the logging industry is sustainable.