By Hilary Vasco Wiagbe
MONROVIA, Dec. 6 (LINA) -Forestry Development Authority (FDA) Managing Director Harrison Karnwea has disclosed that 82.4 percent of the US$43.3 million owed the Authority by logging companies represents Land Rental Bid Premium.
This policy has been abolished by the National Legislature since December 2012.
Mr. Karnwea made the clarification Thursday during the Ministry of Information regular press briefing in Monrovia, noting that media reports had conflicting amounts logging companies owe the Liberian Government.
According to Karnwea, the government is working with the logging companies to reschedule payment of the arrears as continuous liability to GOL will affect the legality of the operations under the Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) arrangement.
The FDA Managing Director noted that several studies have shown that Liberia’s forest taxation was among the highest in the world.
“Consequently, the lawmakers in their wisdom have abolished the Bid Premium, which according to reports was meant to be a onetime payment,” he observed.
Meanwhile, Mr. Karnwea has revealed that the World Bank has supported the Consolidation of Protected Area Network (COPAN), The Expansion of Protected Area Network (EXPAN) and recently the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPC) through grants of US$950,000, US$750, OOO and $3.6 million, respectively.
He also disclosed that the European Union has supported the Birdlife International that partnered with FDA in the Gola Forest for the past four (4) years.
Mr. Karnwea said the EU also signed the Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) on Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT).
He stated that the agreement was ratified by the Legislature, leading to the launch of the implementation of the agreement on December 2, 2013.