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Gov’t to restrict importation of pinewood following complaints from logging associations

The Ministry of Natural Resources is looking to restrict the importation of pinewood as an incentive to the 14 percent Value Added Tax (VAT) on the local logging industry.

Minister of Natural Resources Raphael Trotman told the Government Information Agency (GINA) recently that this move will also seek to reverse what he terms the “dumping” of the foreign lumber in Guyana.

“We find that there is some degree of dumping of this foreign lumber coming in. It is crowding out local loggers. We have been receiving complaints from the logging bodies, associations and the producers,” Minister Trotman revealed.

The Minister explained that he will be consulting with pinewood importers before the decision is finalised. “We would want to ensure that what we do is in the best interest of Guyana, Guyanese and those who will rely on the forest for a livelihood,” Minister Trotman said.

The Natural Resources Minister clarified that the restriction is not a ban on pinewood. “We’re going to ensure that pinewood can’t be imported into Guyana, and be sold at a price that is cheaper than locally produced timber,” Trotman explained.

Ensuring value is added to the local logging industry has been a major focus of the Ministry of Natural Resources which has oversight responsibility of the forestry sector.

The Ministry has also recognised the need to provide incentives to local loggers, some of whom are complaining about the 14 percent VAT that was introduced to the sector this year.

Apart from the restriction of pinewood, the Ministry has also guaranteed market for local loggers with the government’s housing drive which seeks to provide affordable condominiums and duplexes to prospective homeowners.

The Ministry is also pushing the use of local loggers and lesser used species of wood in infrastructural works carried out by the government as a means of guaranteeing income for local loggers.

“We believe that the incentives that we are offering, and the opportunities that we are offering, will cancel out what is seen as an oppressive 14 percent VAT,” the Minister said.

  • Gtloyal

    In many cases the pine trees are planted, cared for, waited decades for before being harvested and processed and yet can be sold at a cheaper price than our lumber which costs us nothing to grow and which we only have to go into the jungle and harvest. Something doesn’t seem to be right.

    • Philip

      No one just goes into the jungle and harvest, sir/madam. There are rules and regulations in place, there is a comprehensive ‘Code of Practice’ to which compliance is mandatory in order to operate in the sector. There are numerous licenses and fees, which must be paid, and for the exporters of logs, royalties must be paid. The machinery used to harvest and trucks to transport the logs/lumber are not cheap, as is fuel and workers wages and salaries. If one contravenes the rules, fines are applied, and these are not cheap either. Roads have to established in the concessions, and this too is cheap. The conditions of work are harsh, concession owners and workers are exposed to the elements, when getting their work done. So, when the loggers complain about the unfair competition, they are justified.

      • Gtloyal

        I believe every word you say.
        But, does that mean that those who produce pinewood do not have a “comprehensive ‘Code of Practice’ to which compliance is mandatory” and the same long list of expenses and hazards to face? Don’t they have to get licensees and pay fees, pay taxes and royalties, buy machinery, buy fuel, pay wages and salaries, build roads etc, etc, etc? Aren’t they ever exposed to the elements?
        Obviously they too have to deal with the same things. Then why is the competition deemed unfair if they sell at a lower price? How can they sell at a lower price? Why do they sell at a lower price? Maybe we can change that and ask why do we have to sell at a higher price? Along that line is my curiosity.
        Are we buying from countries where the product is being subsidized? Or must I conclude that it is simply greed on our part?
        When will we ever be competitive with our products in any market?

  • TA

    Pinewood Mr. Minister is sold between 300 to 400 dollars per BM at gafoors. I purchased a piece that is 12 inches wide to make a table top. The reasons why I choose pinewood are:
    1. There were no softwood at lumber yards in 12 in width.
    2. The pinewood I bought is flawless.
    3. I paid the price for quality.
    Lumber in Guyana with the exception of greenheart is below 300. Local loggers stop crying out and produce good quality lumber for Guyanese and ensure the trees you harvest meet age requirements.
    Dont cast your faults on pinewood. And of course Guyanese wont use pinewood to do any and all things since the tropical climate is harsh in pinewood.