More than 200 logging companies were issued logging licenses by the Forestry and Research Ministry as of June this year.
Forestry Ministry Undersecretary, Phelix Koremae says 288 companies were issued logging licenses – the record dating two years back.
“Out of these 139 are operational and 149 are non-operational and when I say operational it means the 139 are actually exporting logs and when I say they are not operational they cannot export anything as yet.”
The Undersecretary says the Ministry is aware of the many court cases relating to logging issues at the High Court.
However, he says the Ministry’s only role is to act as witnesses in these cases.
“Many of these are trespass-related cases in which the operators may have trespassed onto land that is not in the concession area. This is where many cases are filed with the High Court and the Ministry will normally act as a witness for purposes of concessions, areas approved under the felling license only.”