During the cabinet monthly meeting for February, the Task Force Committee that was assembled by the cabinet, was instructed to continue carrying out the government’s order to regulate wood processing businesses across the country, and to address unlawful business operations and illegal logging.
An order directing district officials to take action was recently issued by authorities to ensure the closure of all furniture factories will be complete by the scheduled deadline.
253 family-owned furniture plants have been ordered to shut down indefinitely by Savannakhet provincial authorities, several operating without business licenses, while the remainder fail to meet set standards.
Director of the Industry and Commerce Department of the central province Mr Sithon Nanthalath, reported that an estimated 166 plants are in violation of operating a business without the proper licenses; while the 87 remaining plants that were approved by districts’ authorities failed to meet the standard requirements.
“District officials in charge are required to report progress [in this regard] every Wednesday,” Mr Sithon stated, adding that the reports would then be passed on to higher authorities.
The director stressed that these plants will be shut down and the owners will not be eligible to register or legalise their businesses.
In its effort to regulate wood processing businesses and address illegal logging, the government has seized large quantities of timber logged illegally.
Recently, the department carried out a bidding process to auction off more than 716 cubic metres of seized timber, fetching more than 1.3 billion kip.
Numerous pieces of equipment that were used to illegally harvest timber, particularly chainsaws, have been seized and destroyed.
The province’s most recent demonstration of enforcing this law, is executing the government’s order to shut down 1,154 family furniture plants across the country that are in illegal operation.
The government has also ordered 28 sawmills to cease operations, which are located in conservation forest areas violating the relevant laws. Of those, 12 have already been shut down and the 16 remaining sawmills will continued to be eliminated by the province authorities.
The taskforce committee was reminded to thoroughly investigate and identify parties engaged in the unlawful harvesting and exporting of timber, as well as those affiliated with these illicit crimes, with the intention to bring the criminals to justice.