(Vientiane Times News) Xayaboury provincial authorities have pledged to improve wood processing plants after finding more than 100 plants failed to meet the required standards, a senior provincial official has said.
Director of the provincial State Inspection Department Mr. Duangta Xaiwout told Vientiane Times on Wednesday that only four wood processing and furniture plants met the standards set by the Ministry of Industry and Commerce. Some 116 plants failed to meet the standards.
“Those plants that failed to meet the standards need to improve their operations and, if not, they will be ordered to close,” Mr. Duangta said.
The findings were revealed after provincial authorities launched an inspection into the operations of the plants in a move to enforce the Prime Ministerial Order issued in May to combat widespread illegal logging.
The measures include prohibiting the export of unfinished wood products, inspecting all businesses that utilise timber and wood, and upgrading wood processing plants to improve the quality of wood products.
On Monday, Mr. Duangta reported the findings of the inspection to the Task Force Committee set up by the government. The committee toured the province to enforce the Prime Ministerial Order.
Mr. Duangta said some furniture plants were operating illicitly and functioned largely as sawmills instead of making furniture. This was a breach of the regulations as their business licences only permitted them to manufacture furniture.
“These plants must abide by the regulations; if not, their business operations will be shut down,” Mr. Duangta said.Currently, there are 77 sawmills and 43 furniture plants in the province but only four plants meet the required standards.
The inspection into log collection yards in the province known as Sanam II and wood processing plants known as Sanam III found 24,130 logs in total, equivalent to more than 10,907 cubic metres of wood. Of this figure, 14,972 logs equivalent to more than 1,695 cubic metres were prohibited tree species, while 9,158 logs equivalent to more than 9,211 cubic metres were protected tree species.
Mr. Duangta said all of the wood had been cut legally in line with the quota allocated for the province by the government. Wood sourced from prohibited and protected species was cut from dried trees found inside the forests, which the government had previously permitted to be felled, he said.
The government recently introduced measures and tough action in an attempt to close loopholes for illegal logging. These include an end to annual logging quotas, prohibiting all parties from cutting dried trees in forests, and banning all parties from collecting logs in forests under the practice known as Sanam I.
By Vientiane Times News
8 July 2016