SOLOMONS LOGGING INDUSTRY HURT BY SLUMP

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Global economic crisis reducing prices and demand

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Times, April 13, 2009) -Minister for Education and Human Resources Development Mathew Wale told Parliament that the Solomon Islands economy is feeling the pinch of the Global Economic Crises.

Speaking in Parliament last week, Mr. Wale said that the deepening of the crisis in most of our major markets means that price of exportable commodities will continue to fall substantially and may result in the country not being able to sell all its products.

Wale said that already the logging sector has not been able to sell all its harvested logs.

He said this should be a concern to the country as the sector contributes around 17 percent of government revenue, 67 percent of the country's foreign earnings and accounts for a third of the country's Gross Domestic Product.

Wale said what happens to this sector will have a direct and substantial impact on the economy and government revenues.

He said the country has been depending on this sector for its revenue for a long time and previous governments have not taken tough actions that could act as a buffer during these harsh economic times.

Wale said governments have failed to follow on with policies that encourage reforestation and downstream processing.

He said failures to implement sustainable harvesting policies by previous governments have made the Solomon Islands economy highly vulnerable to external shocks.

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