Monday, 24 November 2008

Govt told to act against illegal logging, fishing, mining

Govt told to act against illegal logging, fishing, mining

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta 24th November

Contributions to state income from the exploitation of natural resources will remain lackluster unless efforts are intensified to curb illegal activities in the forestry, mining and fishery sectors, a report says.

Illegal logging, mining and fishing are not only badly hurting the environment, but they are also causing trillions of losses in potential state income, Greenomics Indonesia said last week.

In the report, executive director Elfian Effendi said illegal logging and fishing alone caused Rp 60 trillion (about US$5.35 billion) in losses to the nation every year, which could have been used to pay the nation's mounting debts.

"Non-tax revenue from the forestry, mining and fishery sector cannot pay the nation's debts, for instance, because they account for 0.92 percent, or Rp 9.5 trillion of next year's budget of around Rp 1,000 trillion," he said.
"It is ironic how the three sectors play such a small part in the budget, yet illegal practices in those sectors keeps ruining the environment."

Under the 2009 state budget, the government will spend around Rp 165 trillion to pay back the nation's debts -- both principals and interests -- while the non-tax revenues from the three sectors only make up around 6 percent of it.

Moreover, Elfian added, the majority of the revenue will be disbursed to producing regions as part of a so-called revenue sharing scheme between the central and local governments.

"For example, in the 2009 budget, the central government will receive around Rp 2.4 trillion from the three sectors, because some Rp 7.1 trillion out of the total revenue must be transferred to the regions," he said.

Accelerating debt payments means the government could allocate more funds to more productive activities to help boost economic growth.
Elfian said that unless the government acts more aggressively to reduce illegal logging, fishing and mining, the country would continue to suffer a rapidly deteriorating environment and an inability to gain greater economic gains from the three sectors. (dis)