Report on export of round timber

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It is necessary to process all the timber domestically. Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko gave the relevant instructions as he heard out a report on the export of round timber on 24 January.

According to Aleksandr Lukashenko, the government has come forward with a proposal to extend timber export quotas. “I don’t understand why you still submit these matters for consideration of the president,” the head of state said. “We are talking about using timber resources of our country. A short while ago we talked very seriously about land, land allocation for construction projects, and the value of land resources. Today we are talking about timber resources. Timber is the second most valuable resource me and you have not created but inherited from god.”

Aleksandr Lukashenko reminded that a presidential decree was signed in 2015 to prohibit the export of unprocessed timber without authorization by the head of state. Unprocessed timber export was allowed only in exceptional circumstances, such as the hurricane that felled trees on dozens of thousands of hectares of forest land in 2015-2016.

The head of state made it clear that there is no emergency now. The forest lands, which have been affected by the recent hurricane, are quite small, and the timber can be used in the country. “Then the government has come forward with a proposal to extend timber export quotas. In other words, they suggest extending the permission to export unprocessed timber,” the President said.

In this context, Aleksandr Lukashenko wondered how much raw timber is still unsold and why it needs to be exported while a number of woodworking enterprises are operating under full capacity. The head of state was also interested in learning how many Belarus-made forest harvesters had been bought and how much money had been allocated for building the forest roads for extracting and processing this timber.

At the same time, Aleksandr Lukashenko demanded to eradicate grey schemes used to export timber. “You have told me that commercial entities buy a cubic meter of soft-textured wood on the home market for €30, saw off the ends of the logs, process the logs right there in the forest, and export what is in essence raw material under the guise of some poles and stakes,” the President noted.

The head of state warned that those, who allow such things to happen, will be made answerable. The President was told that some moneymakers had been able to earn millions of U.S. dollars thanks to such manipulations. “Whose pockets have been filled? Why is the money still in their pockets instead of the state budget in triple or tenfold amount?” Aleksandr Lukashenko wondered.

“If such cases happen, I would like us to end the discussion today. The state budget has to get everything it should get. Everything should be done properly and honestly,” the Belarusian leader stressed.

At the end of the session Aleksandr Lukashenko authorized the export of 1.8 million cubic meters of unprocessed timber in 2017. It can be explained by the fact that not all the woodworking enterprises had been modernized yet, this is why the domestic demand for timber will only grow larger in the near future. Svetlogorsk Pulp and Board Plant will be one of the largest buyers of these raw materials particularly taking into account the creation of the new division that will manufacture sulfated bleached pulp.

The President was also informed about the measures to prevent grey schemes used to export timber.

On the whole, Aleksandr Lukashenko drew attention to the efficient use of timber, the development prospects of the forestry industry, the progress in forest cultivation and restoration.

The head of state also reminded about the need to clean up forests, especially on the territories near the allotment communities. The President gave an instruction to enhance the accountability for the littering in forests.