Published: Wednesday 15 May 2002

Sale Logged
Indonesia plans to impose a permanent ban on export of logs to save its forests. Over-logging has nearly destroyed the country's rain forests.

Realising this, it had imposed a ban on log exports in 1980 but later replaced it with a 200 per cent export tax to protect local industry and encourage exports of higher-value wood products. By 2000, this tax was reduced to 10 per cent in a pact with the International Monetary Fund (imf).

This time, however, cash strapped Indonesia may receive support from imf, with which it has a us $5 billion loan programme. Periodic disbursements are contingent on a batch of economic reforms being implemented across all sectors.

Environmentalists aver that illegal logging became more rampant after the government reduced its hefty export taxes under the imf agreement. They said illegal logging in Indonesia destroys some 60 million cubic meters of forest each year.

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