The Ministry of Forestry has clarified its stance, emphasizing that bonus payments fall under the purview of Fiji Pine Limited’s Board of Directors, not the Ministry.
This is in response to claims that ongoing wildfires in Fiji’s pine plantations in the Northern Division have been attributed to landowner frustration over delayed bonus payments, as reported earlier.
According to a Ministry statement, government-appointed directors, in collaboration with landowner representatives, determine the company’s business decisions.
The Ministry asserts that it refrains from interfering in the day-to-day operations of the company.
The Ministry highlighted the government’s commitment to increasing landowner participation in the industry, aiming to restore ownership to landowners, as originally intended in the 1970s. They seek to renew contracts with forest-based businesses to build industry capacity.
The Ministry also expressed concern about potential losses due to fires, recalling significant losses in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
It urged landowners and industry stakeholders to take precautions to protect forest resources from fires.
In alignment with safeguarding Fiji’s forest resources, the government is conducting consultations to develop Fiji’s National Forest and Rural Fire Management strategy.