In response to the needs of the forestry sector, Government has crafted a plan for the establishment of a Dimension Stock Yard through a Private Public Partnership that will assure a reliable supply of quality timber products to the domestic and export market without competing directly with the private sector.
It is important to note that it was the private sector that proposed this facility as an initiative to improve growth in the sector. In 2017, the Minister of Finance took the initiative of engaging the forestry sector representatives in conjunction with the Ministry of Natural Resources to assess and better understand the challenges and to find ways of stimulating growth within the sector. Technical input was provided by the Guyana Manufactures and Services Association and the Guyana Forestry Commission.
The stakeholders agreed on a menu of measures which included – a reduction of the VAT on lumber, the conducting of a vitally needed National Forest Inventory and the establishment of a Dimension Stock Yard. The APNU+AFC government has made good on its promises and commitments in this regard.
Government for this purpose allocated an amount of $50 million in Budget 2018, as an indication of its preparedness to partner with the private sector in a Public Private Partnership, to establish a Dimension Stockyard.
It was observed that for some time now it was difficult to obtain quality raw materials (lumber) in sufficient quantity and dimensions. The Consolidated or Dimension Stock Yard is intended to bridge this gap of obtaining an improved quality of lumber, in sufficient quantity and a reliability of supply. It is believed that the quality of locally produced lumber is not at the level to make it very competitive both locally and internationally as only a few operators are producing lumber at the desired quality level.
The Guyana Forestry Commission had announced at a recent press conference that the facility will be managed by an oversight body and will work with the operators so that orders can be consolidated to meet a particular demand or market in accordance with set quality standards.
“The facility will in no way compete with the private sector as there will be no price disadvantage or compulsory requirements from the private sector,” said the GFC at their press conference recently.
The sum allocated in the budget for the Dimension Stock Yard will be used to set up the regulatory framework of the facility, the governance and administrative structure, conduct site preparation activities inclusive of minimal capital equipment and marketing efforts.
We assure the people of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana that the Ministry of Natural Resources stands by this project which has the potential to raise standards in the forestry sector and secure markets. It is an important project for the forestry sector which has had mixed fortunes due to a number of factors and therefore we ask that the public not be misled by those who claim to have the interest of the country at heart but whose words and actions demonstrate the opposite. We assure that every aspect of this project will be executed under the strictest standards of transparency and accountability.
The Ministry of Natural Resources expresses disappointment in the Guyana Times report of 2018.3.4 which contained erroneous comments attributed to the Leader of the Opposition and calls on media houses to be more professional by ensuring facts-based reporting.