PM warns millers using GPS devices

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama issued a stern warning to private sawmillers who were using GPS devices to locate pine trees outside of charted pine lease area and exploiting them for their gain.

While opening the 2022 Bua Provincial Council meeting, he said the private millers would pay off a few mataqali members to cut the pine trees for themselves.

“Let me be clear, these resources belong to Fiji Pine Ltd,” the PM said.

“We acknowledge that this pine has been planted outside of the boundary due to technical issues relating to boundary demarcation.”

Mr Bainimarama said for this, Government would be paying a substantially increased stumpage of 40 per cent to compensate for any pine in areas outside of the boundary.

“Landowners should not be manipulated by private sawmillers.

“Some can exploit you. “You may think you are making some money, but some of these private sawmillers may not be giving you a fair share of the money they are making.

“And it is far better for you if that pine is harvested by Fiji Pine. “Fiji Pine is your company committed to your betterment — its record shows exactly that.”

He said from 2018 to date, the economic returns for local communities in Bua were $15,099,060.43.

“This is simply unheard of. Landowners now have a much more advantageous situation. One that allows them to make money and ensures the health of the pine industry.”

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