31 Mar 2003

PNG forest industry accuses NGOs of helping to stifle growth

3:19 pm on 31 March 2003

Papua New Guinea's Forest Industry Association has accused non-government organisations of slowly killing the forest industry which supports many rural communities.

Its president, Francis Bai, says criticism by NGOs has led to thousands of job losses and a drop of more than 28 million US dollars in export earnings a year.

His comments come after the government presented its economic recovery plan which also aims to develop rural-based industries.

Mr Bai says NGO's have had too much influence over the government which introduces policies stifling industry growth.

He says the government must introduce incentives for forest industry which unlike mining has a renewable resource.

"Whatever policy that they put in place for the forest industry, being the third largest contributor to the GDP, result in making it more difficult for the industry to survive. Some of the things we are seeing as a result of this unfairness is policies that is stifling the industry which can do more in assisting the government reach its objectives of providing services to people up here."

Francis Bai, the President of the Forest Industry Association.