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ESP salvages timber export business

Eddie Firisua, recipient of ESP to support his timber exports

“The Economic Stimulus Package (ESP) came at the right time.” says one of the recipients of ESP, Eddie Firisua.

What started off as a life-changing moment for a long time local businessman has turned out to be a challenge when the Coronavirus (COVID 19) Pandemic was declared early this year.

Local businessman Edward Firisua has been in the timber business for many years, buying timbers from timber sellers in Guadalcanal, Malaita, and Makira Ulawa Provinces, and in January 2020, he decided to venture into Timber Export but sadly, his dream was shattered by the COVID-19  Pandemic.

Recently, he purchased a plot of land at Alligator Creek to shift his Timber Yard since his business started to flourish.

In an interview Mr. Firisua said he started to venture into timber export early this year to New Zealand.

“I saw good income from the container I sent so I decided to concentrate on timber exports. So this year when there is still no news of Coronavirus, I thought everything will be ok so I told my boys to continue with our operations when all of a sudden the pandemic was declared in March,” Mr. Firisua said.

Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Finance and treasury, McKinnie Dentana visit to Mr. Firisua’s Timber yard in Henderson.

He said, despite the situation, they continue to work and sent shipments of one container at a time throughout the second quarter of this year until they decided to halt operations in October this year.

Mr. Firisua said the challenge and stress they endured was hard for him and his 17 employees until he was informed that his application for the Economic Stimulus Package (ESP) was approved.

“I was really shocked when I received the stimulus package in September this year, I really thank the Government for the assistance of $500 thousand dollars. We really want to thank the Government if not we would have gone out from the informal sector.”

He said the Government’s assistance has really boosted his business and his employees were excited because the assistance came in at the right time saving them from being jobless.

Currently, Mr. Firisua has increased the volume of timbers and has already filled up seven containers.

He added the ESP assistance has assisted him to also refurbish his yard to build additional sheds to shelter his timbers.

Meanwhile, Chairman of the Economic Stimulus Package Committee McKinnie Dentana described Mr. Firisua’s Timber Business as one of the positive outcomes of the Economic Stimulus Package objective.

The actual objective of the government’s economic stimulus package has been achieved as we came and witnessed ourselves. One of the objectives of the ESP is to help the government put money into our economy, and one important way is not to give handouts to people but to eject it through such exporters, timber exporters for example,” Mr. Dentana said.

Mr. Dentana explained, it is through such activities that money is also driven down to local people who sell timber and logs.

So those are forms of ejection going into the economy, at the same time when the export foreign income is also circulated in the country,” he said.

Six Timber exporters have been supported under the ESP.

by Gina Maka’a

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