Mon, 22 Aug 1994

Govt cuts annual logging rights by 40%

JAKARTA (JP): The Ministry of Forestry has reduced the annual logging rights of most forest concessionaires by 40 percent due to their failure to meet government regulations, and is warning that they may lose their licenses if they cannot improve performance.

"More than 70 percent of the 580 forest concessionaires failed to meet government regulations on forestry management last fiscal year and we cut their annual logging rights by 40 percent this fiscal year," Minister of Forestry Djamaloedin Soeryohadikoesoemo told reporters here on Thursday.

"If they fail to meet the regulations again this fiscal year, we will revoke their concessions next fiscal year," he said.

According to the minister, concessionaires which operate industrial forests under a transmigration scheme are required to allocate 50 percent of jobs in their areas for local people and the other 50 percent for transmigrants, who have been moved from Java and other densely-populated islands.

Djamaloedin said he had asked around 100 concessionaires operating under the transmigration scheme to help people working in a conversion forest to get land certificates.

Concessionaires operating under a so-called village development scheme are required to put aside a certain portion of their revenue to finance the development of projects specially designed to improve the living of local villagers.

Djamaloedin noted that the licensing of concessionaires is aimed mainly at promoting the welfare of local people besides the generating of tax revenues for the government. Concessionaires, therefore, are required to provide social facilities, such as schools and hospitals, for local people, employ them and procure goods and services from them.

Djamaloedin said if all concessionaires abide by the government regulations, conflicts between forest concessionaires and indigenous people would never happen.

Earlier this year, Dayak Bentian tribespeople in East Kalimantan, whose traditional forests were awarded to a concessionaire, PT Hutan Mahligai, in 1993, protested and demanded that the government revoke its license because it has been destroying their habitat. (rid)