21 Dec 2004

Solomons Governement said need for amendments prevented Forestry Bill being tabled ,

11:36 am on 21 December 2004

The Solomons Government says the need for amendments to certain provisions of the draft Forestry Bill prevented it being tabled in the last sitting of Parliament.

The Prime Minister, Sir Allan Kemakeza, says cabinet would need to discuss certain contentious provisions in the draft bill before it can go before the Parliamentary Standing Committee.

Sir Allan told the Solomons Broadcasting Corporation that the government would like to see an increase in landowners quota for harvesting of their forests, and to introduce a ban on the sub-contracting of logging licences.

He says the government also intends to re-look at the penalty provisions of the draft bill.

The Government Communications Unit says cabinet will meet to discuss the proposed changes soon and the draft bill is expected to be tabled in the first sitting of parliament next year.

Environmentalists in Solomon Islands had said they were shocked that politicians have not taken the opportunity to safeguard the country's rapidly disappearing forests in this session.