Benget Besalicto Tnb, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Mon, 01/11/2010 11:33 AM
Having revoked seven forest concessions amounting to more than 500,000 hectares last year, the Forestry Ministry has threatened to revoke at least 36 more this year unless concession holders comply with all the regulations.
Speaking on the sidelines of a ceremony to launch REDD (reduction of emissions from deforestation and forest degradation) pilot projects last week, Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan said the seven concession holders had been ordered to return their concessions to the government, which will then offer them again to interested investors.
He added four of the concessions were in Riau province, one in Central Kalimantan, one in West Sulawesi and one in Gorontalo province in Sulawesi.
Zulkifli said the concessions had been revoked for several reasons, among others because the holders had abandoned their concession sites, failed to present their annual work plans to the ministry, subcontracted their concessions to other companies, and failed to pay forests tariffs, such as rehabilitation funds and forest resources fees.
The minister said the government had been forced to take the “harsh measure” as it was necessary to make forest concession holders comply with prevailing regulations.
“Of course we need to develop our forestry sector for the benefit of our economy,” Zulkifli said.
“But they should do their business in line with government regulations. Otherwise we’ll have to take action against them, including revoking their permits.”
Hadi Daryanto, the ministry’s director general of forest production development, said at least 36 other forest concessions amounting to 2.04 million hectares could be revoked this year.
“We’ve given the holders a final warning to comply with all requirements within the next few months,” he said.
“If they failed to do so, then we’ll have to revoke their licenses.”
He added the seven affected concessionaires from 2009 were PT Riau Putra Bersama, PT Nanjak Makmur, PT Dexter Kencana Timber and PT Rokan Permai Timber in Riau province; PT Inhutani 2 ex Valgosoon Indonesia in Central Kalimantan; Perusahaan Nasional Hayam Wuruk in West Sulawesi, and PT Acrisindo Utama in Gorontalo.
Hadi declined to name the 36 companies currently at risk of losing their concessions, saying the government would only identify them if it decided to revoke their licenses.
“We’re now in the process of reviewing their licenses. If we decide to revoke them, then we can give you their names,” he said.
He added the government was also facing an increasing number of illegal logging cases across the archipelago.
“Cases of illegal loggers being arrested have been increasing of late,” Hadi said.
“Perhaps the loggers are making use of the kind of transition process currently underway. But we’ll take harsh action against them.
We’ll cooperate with the police on this issue.”