This article was last updated on May 25, 2022
He said that the reasons for timber harvesting in the county is to benefit the community projects which are proposed by the community, sent to the county councilors and assented by the commissioner for the implementation .
Alhaz Taban, the community representative said that most of the projects in the area are not proposed by the community because, “we on the ground get peoples splitting timbers in the area with clear stamped document authorizing them to operate in the area without consultation from the community, and most of our trees are destroyed. To make it worse, most of the dealers are foreigners.”
The forestry department is availing the commissioner’s office with all the details of companies or individuals dealing in timber to be registered, pay license fees and sign a memorandum of understanding with the county.
The taxation and revenue collection system from the timbers in the county should also be conducted in a transparent manner, in consultation with all the stakeholders like the community, County Legislative Council and the county authorities.
The County Assistant Commissioner of Forestry Michael Lazarus said that the movement and cutting of timber in the county is already stopped.
Morobo County has only one National reserve forestry where 99 per cent of it is destroyed.
In another development, Lainya County Commissioner Wuda Michael Laila has suspended the operation of the Teak companies dealing in teak business in Lainya until further notice.
Laila told Gurtong that there is lack of transparency by the company dealing in Teak business in the county.
He said the teak reserves were contracted to the company known as Allan Company which later subcontracted the project to other two companies, adding that the community is now having problem with the third company.
The company was to pay US $ 200,000 to the communities of Korobe, Kejiko and Loka where the reserved forests are located, but the company breached the contract since 2007.
The company also failed to provide basic social services like health centers, schools and employment to the youth in the reserves areas.
Two committees were formed; one chaired by the commissioner herself to develop policies to guide the resources in the county and one chaired by Henry Lukudu to monitor the activities in the teak reserves and provide shelter for the forest guards so as to help them monitor every movement in the forest.
Wuda said it is her mandate to protect the people and their resources.
“Iam here to protect the people of Lainya and their resources,” said Wuda.
In August, the Western Equatoria State government banned the cutting down of Teak and natural forests in the state.
Both Central and Western Equatoria states have blamed the National Ministry of agriculture and Forestry for getting into business of cutting teak and Natural forests with companies and individuals without consulting the state authorities.
Most of the authorization letters are done from above, “who is above me in Western Equatoria State,” Governor Bangasi Joseph Bakosoro once told county officials in Maridi in August.
In August, the Western Equatoria State had announced plans to lift the ban on teak timber harvesting in August.
According to the State Governor Bangasi Joseph Bakosoro, the communities and teak producers had complained about the order which declared the harvesting of the trees as illegal.
The state government decided to ban the teak business after realising that dealers who were buying Teak from the local people did not offer better prices but rather exploited the producers.
The national Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and the state governments have to develop modalities to handle the exploration of the reserves and natural forests in the country.
The trucks used by the illegal traders to transport the timber from the reserve in Western Equatoria Statewere detained by the police in August.