…As GOL Suspends PUPs Logging Activities – By: Augustine N. Myers – In the wake of the suspension of logging activities of Private Use Permits (PUPs) by the Liberian government, over ten thousand timber workers are now out of jobs and said to be experiencing hardship.
The Liberian government, t
hrough the Forestry Development Authority (FDA) recently announced with immediate effect the suspension of all logging activities of all Private Use Permits (PUPs) in Liberia, and constituted an eleven-man technical committee to review the regulations regarding the PUPs.
The Acting President of the Liberia Timber Association, Mr. John S. Deah described the decision by the FDA as a breakdown to the logging sector of the country, which came without prior notice.
The decision by FDA led the leadership of the Liberia Timber Association to the National Legislature last week and held discussions with the Senate Pro-temp, Gbezongar Finley and Chairman on Agriculture and Forestry, and Deputy House Speaker, Hans Barchu, respectively.
Mr. Deah speaking to the press following series of discussions said the arbitrary suspension of contracts by FDA did not go down well with the Liberia Timber Association.
According to him, the timber Industry is heavily capital intensive and that when one obtains a contract, it takes up to one year to begin pre-felling requirements. He further said since PUPs were issued some of the logging companies that are members of the Liberia Timber Association were still carrying on pre-felling requirements, while others have started logging activities and that others started trucking their logs for shipment.
Mr. Deah said they were surprised to have seen in the papers and also heard from the electronic media, suspension of the Private Use Permits by FDA, describing the decision as being unfair to them.
He said timber operators are presently in a confused state, with the over ten thousand workers at the disadvantaged, while timber company owners are now struggling to take heavy duty equipment from the forests at the same time thinking about the fate of logs already harvested and lying in the bushes.
Mr. Deah said logs are perishable, and if nothing is urgently done to lift the suspension, timber operators will sustain huge loses, something he said will discourage more investors.
Mr. Deah on behalf of the 37 logging companies under the Liberia Timber Association expressed optimism that the suspension on Private Use Permits regarding logging activities will be lifted as soon as possible, so as to regain the interest and confidence of investors.
Also speaking, the Chairman of the Margibi County Forest Forum, Morris N. Gibson expressed fair that if the suspension is not lifted, it will affect communities where logging activities had been going on.
Mr. Gibson disclosed that their respective communities have been benefiting from agreements signed between them and the various logging companies through the Private Use Permits (PUPs).
He made reference to one of the social agreements signed with one of the Logging companies (Akewa Group of Companies) operating in Gibi District, Margibi County asserting that due to the social agreement that was signed, it has paved the way for the construction of roads, bridges, hand pumps, schools and a market building.
Mr. Gibson disclosed that Akewa Group of Companies has completed all the other projects including the roads, bridges, schools, and hand pumps, except for the construction of the market building which was under construction by the Akewa Group of Companies during which time the PUPs’ suspension was announced by government.
He described the market project as very significant to the enhancement of goods and services and the promotion of economic activities in Gibi District, especially during the rainy season.
Mr. Gibson expressed fear that the suspension of the PUPs would delay the completing of the market structure which is the first of its kind in the District.
He said the Akewa Group of Companies was also buttressing efforts of government and the international community regarding sustainable forest management.
Mr. Gibson is meanwhile urging the Liberian government through the Forestry Development Authority to revisit the suspension placed on the Private Use Permits, to recommence logging activities and other social development activities throughout Liberia.
For his part, the Paramount Chief of Bopolu Chiefdom in Gbarpolu County, William K. Mawolo, Sr. said the suspension of logging activities under the Private Use Permits (PUPs) is not in the interest of the country and the citizenry.
According to Chief Mawolo, the decision to suspend logging activities will further enhance the hardship of especially the ordinary people.
He said the operation of logging companies across the country was contributing to the improvement of economic activities and development programs in rural communities.
Chief Mawolo further said the various logging companies have been providing employment opportunities, something he said has greatly led to the reduction of criminal activities across the country.
He expressed fear that hardship will increase and criminal activities will resume, if the suspension remains on the PUPs for logging activities.
Chief Mawolo is meanwhile appealing to Government, through the FDA to reconsider its decision and allow the resumption of logging activities.
The Forestry Development Authority (FDA) recently announced with immediate effect the suspension of all logging activities of Private Use Permits (PUPs) in Liberia, and constituted an eleven-member technical committee to review the regulations regarding the PUPs.