Wale reiterates call to deregister SFA, maintains stand on body’s influence over gov’t decision
The Leader of Opposition, Hon. Matthew Wale, says he was reliably informed that at its recent executive meeting, Solomons Forest Association (SFA), the association protecting the interests of logging companies, agreed to increase the price of logs.
Hon. Wale has long maintained that the government has been held to ransom by the logging companies on the price of logs, “and this revelation merely confirms what we have known all along – that the government only acts at the behest of the logging companies in the setting of the determined value of logs”.
“The logging companies decide when the price of logs should go up or down, to suit their business interests. In this, the interests of forest owners and the government are totally ignored. They are only considered for their propaganda value, to not upset the people too much,” says the Opposition Leader.
Hon. Wale says, “It is shameful that the Prime Minister and the government has continued to bow to logging companies and follow their instructions on log prices. National interest will continue to be ignored as long we continue to have a Prime Minister and government that is willing to take their instructions from the logging companies”.
“Our current difficult economic and financial situation does not seem to have had any effect on these matters, tragically. Our hospitals are in desperate need of medicines, resources, equipment, beds, etc, and our government continues to protect the loggers to keep log prices lower than market prices,” says Hon. Wale.
The Opposition Leader says SFA should be deregistered and declared a criminal organization for proactively interfering in the domestic politics of Solomon Islands to protect their narrow business interests against the national interest.
“SFA financially supports the Prime Minister to ensure that he has the numbers to continue to protect their logging interests,” Hon. Wale adds.