Minister of Agriculture Dr Leslie Ramsammy says that a proposed investment by China Paper has not moved beyond the Memorandum of Under-standing (MoU) stage as yet.
“I don’t think that has gone beyond the MoU,” the minister told Stabroek News yesterday when contacted on the activities the company has been undertaking. Government has been urged to come clean on secret MoUs signed with foreign companies.
Last year, Dr Rupert Roopnaraine of APNU said that the first knowledge of dealings with another investor, the D Y Patil Group and China Paper came to his attention through reporting in the Stabroek News. He said “with these MoUs we are of the firm belief that they need to be fully ventilated and brought to the National Assembly.”
Prior to the reportage in the Stabroek News there had been no information from the government on the details of MoUs clinched with the two companies.
China Paper came to notice when it advertised in local newspapers for the services of a competent local firm to provide environmental and logistical services for its operations. According to the advertisement, the company is seeking to develop a project in the agriculture sector in Guyana. China Paper, which is state owned under the parent company China Chengtong is into asset management, integrated logistic service, capital goods trade as well as production, development and exploitation concerning forestry, pulp and paper.
According to the company, its “overseas layout” concentrates in South America, Southeast Asia, Russia and other countries and regions. It says that with the support from national policies and auxiliary capital, China Paper strives to own an annual papermaking capacity of over 5 million tons and an annual pulp-making capacity of over 5 million tons and control over 10 million “mu” (Chinese acre land measurements equivalent to 1/6 of an acre) of forest lands both at home and abroad at the end of the period of the 12th Five-Year Plan, with assets, income and profit all going to new levels.
Last June, a delegation from China Chengtong (CCT) Holdings Group Ltd, led by its Vice President Li Yousheng met President Donald Ramotar for talks on its interest in the establishment of an agri-forest project in Guyana, the Government Information Agency had reported.
“The project (proposed) is just the plantation for the trees and an integrated base for agriculture projects… that (will be) very good for the… local people here,” Vice President Li had said in an invited comment to GINA. He gave the assurance that sustainable practices are at the heart of company’s method of building the forestry industry.
There have been increasing concerns locally about large Chinese companies accessing the forestry sector not being forthcoming about their plans or the bases on which they are operating.