2 Oct 2008

Fiji sawmillers say new royalty rates will cost jobs

11:18 am on 2 October 2008

The Fiji Sawmillers Association, has warned that as many as 3000 jobs in the country's timber and sawmilling industry may be lost if the department of Forests does not review its decision for a 56 to 270 per cent increase in timber royalties.

Fijilive reports that the Association, has said that some large sawmills in Vanua Levu have already indicated that they will not be able to sustain the royalty hike and will shut down their forest operations putting more than 200 workers jobs on the line if the royalties are enforced

The website quotes the association's President, Jay Dayal, as saying other mills have also indicated their intention to temporarily halt harvesting operations in the forests as none of them can afford to pay the new royalty rates.

Mr Dayal said the local construction industry would also be badly affected by the new rates which would make their products more expensive.

He said certain classes of lower grade timber would also lose its export market because it would not be able to compete with similar but cheaper products from Asian countries.