2 Oct 2008

Fiji's timber industry to meet Government over huge hike in royalties

4:40 pm on 2 October 2008

Fiji's sawmillers' association will meet with the interim government tomorrow to try to avoid action which could threaten 3000 jobs.

The Department of Forests has decided to raise timber royalties anywhere from 56 percent to 270 percent.

The Association's president, Jay Dayal, says the increase is far too much and has been decided without any kind of consultation.

He says he will decide what the next step is after tomorrow's meeting, but he's not ruling out legal action.

"We are going to halt the harvesting operations until a decision is reached and as a result of halting the harvesting operations we may even have to temporarily suspend our sawmilling operations which would mean that we'll have to lay off some workers, and in total, the industry employs over 3000 people."

Jay Dayal says he is confident an agreement can be reached tomorrow, because theh government realises how important the forestry industry is to Fiji.