14 Nov 2002

World Bank and PNG government to hold fresh talks over forest industry

5:27 pm on 14 November 2002

Officials from the World Bank and the Papua New Guinea government have begun talks to a settle dispute over the Bank's proposed Forestry Conservation Project for PNG.

PNG's Treasurer, Bart Philemon, says he is optomistic that they will ba able to agree on two conditions within the plan that caused the rift.

The World Bank proposed that an advisory or review committee be established to oversee the activities of PNG's National Forest Authority or NFA and that 1 percent of forest land to be set aside for enviromental impact assessements.

Mr Philemon says there were concerns that the World Bank was trying to usurp the power of the NFA and it would cost the country too much.

He says he's confident that a compromise can be found.

"It was never the intention of the government not to persue the forestry conservation programme it was those two areas that the government felt that there's a need for us to revisit and dialogue has now been opened. I'm sure some amicable arrangement will be a result of this dialogue between the World Bank and the government."

Bart Philemon, PNG's Treasurer