Pinus wood imports cost staggering Rs.4.8 billion for Sri Lanka.
By: Staff Writer
Colombo (LNW): Sri Lanka, in the last three years, has spent a staggering Rs.4800 million on the import of Pinus wood, raising concerns as the country possesses ample commercial plantations capable of meeting its requirements for the next 18 years, a top committee reveals.
The Sectoral Oversight Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Sustainable Development, headed by Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) MP Ajith Mannapperuma, in its report presented to Parliament, says it called for a meeting with the officials of the State Timber Corporation to discuss it.
Sri Lanka has Pinus plantations covering over 16,000 hectares. Of them, 1,200 hectares are in the lands managed by the Department of Forest Conservation, 1,764 hectares by the Land Reforms Commission.
The high cost for logging and the shrinkage of Sri Lanka’s construction industry have reduced demand for Sri Lanka’s Pinus wood.
Mr. Mannapperuma said that his committee recommended the lowering of logging cost from Rs. 11.125 to Rs. 8,500 to create a competitive market for local Pinus food. He said the profit margin of State Timber Corporation was asked to be reduced by 25 percent.
Also, he said the committee asked for export of Pinus not as logs but as wood.“ When making wood, a lot of income generation opportunities are created in terms of transportation and milling,” he added.
Furthermore, it was revealed that pinewood worth 4.8bn rupees imported into Sri Lanka in the last 3 years. Chairman of the Committee inquired about importing Pine wood into Sri Lanka at a high cost while there is usable quality pine wood in the country.
The officials pointed out that there is a high demand for the imported wood due to its high quality and the very low amount of tax levied during importation, and that there is a low demand for local Pine wood due to the decrease in quality due to existing knots.
Also, the officials noted that although the local Pine wood is used only in the construction sector, the imported Pine wood is also used for the production of luxury furniture.
They also pointed out that since there is no good attitude among the public regarding local Pine wood, measures should be taken to encourage the use of local Pine wood for other activities including furniture production.
Accordingly, the committee informed the State Timber Corporation to submit an analysis report on the cost of imported Pine wood and the cost of domestic Pine wood production.