Gov’t to take up Barama’s offer to continue value-added production
The Government will be engaging Barama Company Limited (BCL) on its interest in continuing the production of Value-added products to serve the local market, even as it opted out of logging.
In a statement on Thursday, the Ministry of Natural Resources disclosed that the company has communicated its position to the Government in relation to not renewing its Forest Concession Agreement which expired on October 15, 2016.
“The Government thanks BCL for its involvement over the past twenty-five years, and will be engaging the company in further discussions on its stated interest in the continuation of the added value activities” the statement said.
A taskforce was convened in 2015 to examine the request for extension of the 25 year contract between the Company and the Government and was expected to complete its work by September 30, 2016.
However, the company on October 15, 2016 indicated that it is no longer interested in the renewal of its contract noting that it was no longer viable to continue in the forestry operations in view of prevailing global prices.
It was disclosed previously that Barama Co. Ltd has lost its market share in Asia which is affecting its profitability.
The Ministry notes that the decision of BCL presents an opportunity to engage in a stocktaking exercise where Government can objectively assess the value of the standing forest through its contribution to the ecosystem while simultaneously examining the value of the past 25 years to the people of Guyana.
“Such an exercise would be pivotal in decision-making as it relates to economic empowerment and development of sustainable livelihoods of present and future generations” it noted.
Following the review, the Guyana Forestry Commission will shortly be making a determination about the future allocation of the Barama concession.
Previously, General Secretary of the Guyana Trades Union Congress (GTUC) Lincoln Lewis had expressed concerns with the loss of jobs with the non-renewal of the contract.
In this regard, the Ministry of Natural Resources said it has “mandated” the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC) to work with BCL to ensure a smooth closure of all concession related activities within the stipulated period.
The GFC was also mandated to “ensure that all labour and other related issues are fully addressed the holistic manner in keeping with applicable laws and regulations.”