Minister for Forests and Member for Telefomin in Sandaun province Hon. Solan Mirisim on March 11th, 2020 submitted his 2019 acquittal of K1 million from the Log Export Development Levy (LEDL). The acquittal was handed over to Mr. Tunou Sabuin, Managing Director of the National Forest Service, implementing arm of the Papua New Guinea Forest Authority.
Minister Mirisim urged Members of Parliament who applied for and were given the LEDL funds to acquit them in order to be eligible for more.
Stressing on the need for acquittals the minister said: “no acquittal, no more LEDL funds”.
Minister’s cover letter of the acquittal read: “All commitments were done according to DDA (District Development Authority) resolution”.
The LEDL expenditure covered K50,000 to Telefomin Secondary School, K20,000 to Oksapmin High School, amongst other projects.
Meanwhile Mr. Sabuin has congratulated Minister Mirisim for leading by example in his first year as the Minister for Forests and acquitting the K1 million LEDL funds he had received in 2019 for his electorate.
LEDL is a project financing facility established to provide tangible and durable benefits to the people whose natural forests have been acquired by the State for commercial logging. The LEDL facility is enabled by the 2006 amendment to the Forestry Act 1991. LEDL levy collections began in 2007.
The LEDL came about upon the realization that after the expiry of logging projects in many areas of the country, over the years very little by way of tangible and durable development was achieved in logging localities. The people in many of the localities of post commercial logging operations were no better off than before their commencement.
Section 121A of the Forestry Act 1991 which came into force in 2006 stipulates that LEDL funds can be used to finance agriculture and infrastructure activities and projects. Only people in areas where logging and export of logs from a natural forest and from which the LEDL levy has been derived are eligible beneficiaries of the LEDL facility. Eligible areas include those where logging and export of logs from a natural forest has been ongoing since 2007 when LEDL levies were first collected.
Mr. Sabuin said that LEDL is intended to assist the people and communities of the affected logging areas to have a means for earning an income and to support them in terms of infrastructure needs. Properly implemented, the benefits from LEDL projects can be sustainable, and in many instances can even outlast commercial logging operations, he added.