No decision has been made as yet by the government over a request by the Chinese logging company Baishanlin for a further two years for value-added production, according to a statement from the Ministry of the Presidency.
The statement, which was issued in the early hours of this morning, comes amid public questioning of the apparent intention of the government to allow the Chinese logging company another two years and also to export logs. Attempts by Stabroek News over the last few days to clarify this matter with government officials failed.
The Ministry of the Presidency statement follows:
The Department of Natural Resources and Environment has taken note of the maelstrom that arose from reports that Government has granted the Baishanlin International Forest Development Incorporated a two year extension to fulfill its obligations, and also, to permission to continue the export of logs as normal.
Both reports are inaccurate and not factual.
By way of clarification, the Department of Natural Resources & Environment would like to inform the public that it has not granted the company a two year extension as mistakenly reported in the media, and wishes to advise that the reference to “two years” made by the Minister of Governance was merely to make the public aware that a two-year extension was being sought by the Company.
The Department has not considered the request and has requested information from the company about its proposed business plan and evidence of financing. It is only upon receipt of those documents that such an application can be objectively scrutinised and a decision made about the future of the Company’s operations in Guyana.
With regard to the valid concerns about the export of logs, the Department advises that the Company has not shipped logs in several months; following an earlier restriction placed on exports.
However, it must be noted that a large quantity of locust logs remain in a holding area and their quality is rapidly degrading, and while it is expected that a sizeable quantity will be released into the local market for use by furniture manufacturers, it is anticipated that a surplus will remain and this will either be allowed to depreciate further, or have to be exported.
The Department of Natural Resources & Environment will endeavour to keep the citizens informed of any further developments.