Landowners oppose Momis plan to bring Asians to log Buin forests
New Dawn radio is reporting that landowners from the Tonolei Timber Rights area in Buin are opposed to President Momis’ move to bring Asian companies in to log their forests.
The landowners have disassociated themselves from dealing with any outsiders and want to work with locally owned Bougainville businesses. At the same time other prominent Bougainvilleans are expressing their concern more generally at the influx of Chinese and Asian business into Bougainville.
As was revealed last week ABG President John Momis signed a contract with a Korean company, PME International in 2013, allowing them to conduct logging, mining and tuna fishing operations on Bougainville. PME subsidiary company, PME Niugini now holds the logging rights to 60,000 hectares of forest including the Tonolei Forest Area in the Buin district. PME Niugini has signed a contract with a Malaysian company, Priceworth International, do carry out the logging and forest clearance operations.
Spokesman and titleholder of one of the Tonolei forest blocks, Francis Mona told New Dawn FM that Bougainville some time back resolved not to allow logging throughout the island and questioned who was behind this move to get Asians into Tonolei. He also questioned why certain leaders are making these decisions against ABG ‘s own policies.
Mr Mona says that landowners have sawmills that can be contracted to provide Sawn timber to whoever is interested in Bougainville timber.
Other Bougainvilleans are also concerned that Chinese and Asians coming into the region will spoil Bougainville’s economy. Isaac Thompson has told New Dawn that these Asians are not complying with the ABG’s economic policy and are not following proper procedures.
Mr Thompson says he wants the general public and citizens of Bougainville to be reminded that they must be firm because if we are not careful in stopping and controlling these Asians they can destroy the Bougianville economy. He says there is a big problem emerging and he is urging Bougianville leaders, even in the ABG to try and continue to pressure the President to take some measures to control the situation.