"Incentives" a factor in PNG logging system

6:04 pm on 20 February 2016

The head of Papua New Guinea's Chamber of Commerce says communities in forested areas remain susceptible to incentives offered by foreign loggers.

Harvested logs in PNG

Harvested logs in PNG Photo: RNZI/Johnny Blades

The comment by Michael Mayberry follows the release of a report by the Oakland Institute research group exposing massive tax evasion by logging companies operating in PNG.

The Institute investigated the financial records of dozens of companies, including the Malaysian giant Rimbunan Hijau, and found that many have reported little or no profit for over a decade.

Mr Mayberry said the logging industry generates substantial funds, some of which goes to government and landowner villages.

"A number of people get really substantial benefits: politicians, public servants, and things like that. A lot of people complain about that but if you're a small landowner and somebody offers you a large motor vehicle, that's a fairly powerful incentive for them to agree to things that perhaps they shouldn't agree to."