PM directs crackdown on illegal logging in Khammuan
Prime Minister ThonglounSisoulith travelled to Khammuan province on Monday to direct local authorities to strengthen their efforts to clamp down on illegal logging and better protect forests for future generations.
His visit to the province took place following an incident involving an exploding bus in Bualapha district which killed 10 Vietnamese people.
Earlier this month the bus loaded with an illegal shipment of timber exploded after fireworks stowed in the baggage compartment ignited just eight kilometres from the Naphao-Chaulor border checkpoint.
The bus incident occurred while relevant authorities are enforcing the Prime Minister's Order No 15 issued on May 13 aiming to close loopholes in illegal logging and the cross-border trade of logs.
During the visit, PM Thongloun told Khammuan authorities at a meeting attended by over 500 officials to strictly follow the PM's Order which also banned the export of all types of unprocessed wood products including logs and timber.
He stressed that all logs and timber were not allowed to be removed from forests and urged local authorities to inspect all wood/timber-related business activities.
The government has established a taskforce to inspect illegal logging activities in cooperation with local authorities, citing that all illegal timber will be confiscated and those involved will face legal action.
The Prime Minister also called for all Lao people to be the eyes and ears for the government to ensure security and social order as the country prepares to host the Asean Summit in September.
At the onset, the PM instructed provincial leaders to concentrate on disseminating the order to officials at different departments and districts so that they can continue to distribute it to village authorities and communities.
The move is aimed to ensure a majority of people understand the order clearly and contribute to the implementation of the order.
Meanwhile the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry summoned forestry officials across the country for a meeting in Vientiane on Friday to discuss how to enforce the PM's Order more effectively .
Forestry officials from all provinces briefed the meeting about the overall picture of forest management in their provinces as well as issues related to deforestation and identified the amount of logs/timber left in their provinces before reporting to the government.
Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Dr Lien Thikeo was very concerned about forestry decline in the country and stressed the need to improve mechanisms in regards to managing forests.
All sectors need to work harder in cooperation to crack down on illegal logging and return the country's forestry cover to 70 percent by 2020.
“We need to implement our Prime Minister's Order strictly so as to address illegal logging,” Dr Lien said.
“If we fail to enforce this order, we will never accomplish our strategy of returning forest cover to 70 percent by 2020.”
(Latest Update June 15, 2016)