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No Room For Corruption In Mahogany Industry: PM

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama yesterday warned the 13 recipients of mahogany licences against corruption. Mr Bainimarama is also chairperson of the Fiji Mahogany Industry Council. Congratulating the 13 licencees, he
02 Sep 2017 11:18
No Room For Corruption In Mahogany Industry: PM
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama with the recipients of mahogany licences and stakeholders in Suva on September 1, 2017. Photo: Vilimoni Vaganalau

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama yesterday warned the 13 recipients of mahogany licences against corruption.

Mr Bainimarama is also chairperson of the Fiji Mahogany Industry Council.

Congratulating the 13 licencees, he said: “I offer this advice to ensure that all parties continue to benefit from the mahogany trade and Fiji’s mahogany industry continues to grow and thrive and attract premium pricing.

“Everyone must follow the transparent licencing processes under the law. Make sure you commit to full compliance and adherence to the licence conditions, because there are many others standing in the wings if there are breaches or if you can’t perform as promised.”

“There is no room for corruption. There is no room for unscrupulous behaviour such as backroom deals or enticing landowners with sweet deals but that will ultimately be at the detriment of the landowners and the industry itself.

“Sadly some still try to do this. Just know that these people will face the full brunt of the law.”

Mr Bainimarama said that Fiji Pure Mahogany enjoyed a strong international reputation and was a strong brand.

“Fiji is considered a good place to do business in sustainable hardwoods,” he said.

“The proof is that Fiji Pure Mahogany brand has been registered in over 20 countries. The proof is here today, with 13 licencees. Now we can say with pride that we have accomplished a great deal and over such a short period.”

He said they had the infrastructure and the legal and organisational framework to deal with emerging challenges that affected this industry.

He said they were now in a position where they could respond to market forces, environmental challenges or financial pressures because they had solved the big problems.

“In our reform, we had set out seven key objectives: sustainability, value-adding, fair return to landowners, upholding the interests of Fiji, quality assurance, certification and branding.”

He said they had been faithful to those guiding objectives since they began the reform process in March 2010 and they were reaping the rewards.

The Fiji Hardwood Corporation Limited (FHCL) as a result of these reforms had been able to successfully reduce its debt from over $120 million in 2008 to about $6 million now.

He said they had made replanting a priority, including the establishment of the new nursery project at Nukurua.

“Indeed we have the largest planted mahogany forest and reforestation is the hallmark of our sustainable industry. As we harvest, we must plant more and more.”

One of the licence recipients, the owner of KKK Logging and Sawmillers Co and Shameem’s Timber Yard, Mohammed Shameem, said he was grateful for the licence as it now enabled him to order direct from FHCL.

He said before he had to buy from other sources.

“Now I just put my order to FHCL and I get my mahogany,” he said.

After processing the mahogany, he said he sold his products locally and to his international markets.

The operation manager Nukurua Mahogany Trust Holding Company Lepani Moce said  they would use it properly.

 

The new Mahogany

Licence Holders:

Dayal Sawmillers Limited – annual quota is 23,100 square meters (sq m)  (Mix Grades 1 to 4), Fiji Mahogany Trust – 5000 sq m (Mix grades 1 – 5), Future Forest  Fiji Ltd – 3000 sq m (Grade 3 only), KKK Logging and Sawmillers Co and Shameem’s Timber Yard – 2000 sq m (Grade 2 only), Mega Medaras (Fiji) Ltd – 12,000 sq m (Mix grades 3 to 4), Nukurua Mahogany Trust Holding Company – 2500 sq m (Mix grade 4 to 5), Nur Ahmed and Co Ltd – 2800 sq m (Grade 3 only), Rups Investment Ltd – 6000 sq m (Mix Grades 4 to 5), Scud Timber (Fiji) Ltd – 7000 sq m (Mix grade 1 to 4), Southern Forest – 1200 sq m (Grade 2 only), Subrails Furniture Joinery and Upholstery Ltd – 2900 sq m (Mix Grades 1, 2, 4 & 5), Tropik Wood Industries Ltd – 7,000 sq m (Mix grades 2 and 3) and Vitiana Timbers Fiji Ltd – 5500 sq m (Mix Grades 1 & 2).

A special allocation of 5000 sq m is allocated for landowner – based forest based companies that will be administered by landowners themselves through the Fiji Mahogany Trust.

Edited by Ranoba Baoa

Feedback:  maikab@fijisun.com.fj

 



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