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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Sept. 26) – The Papua New Guinea Forest Industry Association (PNGFIA) is calling on the National Forestry board to revoke the licence of a logging company operating in Central Province.

The association claims that the company, NASYL N0.98 Limited, which has directors linked to the controversial Kerewara Timber Limited of Chinese-Malaysian origin, had gone illegally into the Manumanu area of the province promising to grow oil palm in the area after they harvest the trees.

Association President Stanis Bai said Manumanu was 100 kilometers from Port Moresby and the National Forest Service should have stopped this company from logging.

But Central Province Governor Alphonse Moroi defended the company and said the Central Provincial Government had invited the company into their area because NASYL N0.98 Limited was prepared to construct roads and start an oil palm plantation in the province.

He said shareholders of the landowners company included villages in Kairuku and the Goilala area of the province.

"Because it was the provincial government’s initiative to start agricultural projects in the province, the National Forestry Service with the National Planning Department gave us the okay to go ahead with the project," Mr Moroi said. "The people of Central Province are all shareholders in the project through the Central Provincial Government and the developer will operate under strict guidelines we have set together."

Mr Bai said the association advised the National Forestry board about the operations of NASYL NO.98 Ltd two weeks ago and the board had not acted on the advice. He said the Government should also check on how the some of the workers came into the country as the association understood that they had arrived on tourist visas.

"How can we police the Act (Forestry) when a government agency is turning a blind eye on what we are telling them," Mr Bai said. "The NFS granted this company a licence to fell trees and export logs when they knew that their employees’ entrance into the country was also questionable."

September 27, 2005

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