From a grossly mismanaged sector that was on the verge of collapse, the forestry sector under the PPP/C Government which took office in August 2020, has made a turnaround.
The government chanelled $350 million into the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC) to cover operational costs and wages for staff for the remainder of 2020.
Minister of Natural Resources, Vickram Bharrat, M.P., had held a meeting with staff and other stakeholders to look at strategies that could boost the financial performance and management capabilities of the GFC.
Following that engagement, in 2021, the forestry sector was able to make a positive turnover and manage on its own. One achievement of the sector in 2021 include getting stakeholders, particularly small-scale loggers back into the business which resulted in the construction boom, and an increase in log production, with over 400,000 cubic feet declared. Minister Bharrat said that his ministry intends to hold more consultations with the larger companies in order for them to reach their targets.
“Their production was very low when compared to the small loggers. This is an area we will address in 2022. We can’t have people holding up state land. There is so much room for increased production. That is not a question that stakeholders should be worried about,” the Minister said.
Meanwhile, the GFC’s monthly revenue collection was increased from $70 million in 2019 to over $90 million in 2021 while over 100 new concessions were issued to small loggers.
Additionally, monitoring capabilities were advanced with the procurement of more off-terrain vehicles to venture into the hinterland for exercises.
Roads crucial to the development of the forestry sector were rehabilitated and new hinterland roads were constructed in Regions One, Two, Eight, Nine and Ten to the tune of over $3 billion.