LFA requests prior to wood quota increasing
The Lao Furniture Association (LFA) has requested that the government give them priority in the bidding for seized wood. This is to ensure that its members will be able to access seized wood as a source of raw materials and have therefore have sufficient wood to meet the need of the furniture processing industry.
The government has approved a 30 percent annual wood quota for LFA in order for them to sustain their businesses but the implementation of this quota has not been successful. The government has now put a stop to its annual logging quota according to Vice President of LFA Mr Phoungphachanh Sengmixay as he discussed this with media representatives recently. He cited that in the issuance of PM's Order No.15 on Enhancing Strictness on the Management and Inspection of Timber Exploitation, Timber Movement and Timber Business which strictly ban the export of timbers exploited from natural forest of Laos, the government issued following notifications and instructions to be a reference for implementation:
An Order defining the Ministry of Forestry and Agriculture as the ministry responsible for collaborating with other sectors to inspect and collect details of wood amounts and the log list at the second log yard that has been approved in the past and to report to the government for consideration as to assigning the relevant sector to conduct sale-purchase for Lao Timber Processing Industry Association, Lao Furniture Association and other wood operators to produce furniture products for domestic sale and export. However, LFA and its members were unable to access the process of bidding due to the delay of the bid invitation and the association did not go to look at the wood at the yard by itself.
Furthermore, the log yard is still far and scattered, and there is not a grade selection of wood and measurement of the wood at the log yard. Adding to the challenge is that the price of wood is higher than market prices, and adding to their costs is the cost of moving the wood after bidding into processing factory, said Mr Phoungphachanh.
In order to promote LFA and its members, in the future it requests that the government issues the wood bidding invitation at least 30 days before bidding day.
They suggest that a special committee should collect the wood being bid for and move it to a location near the city, in order to facilitate inspection, define the times that they can go to look at the wood, and select the grade and measure wood. This should be all done before bidding, and the special committee should also review its price to make sure it is lower than the market price, and make sure when moving the wood extra time is allocated to take into account the extra time when needed when moving wood via checkpoints.
Importantly, it requests that the government gives the association priority in the bidding of seized wood in order to sufficiently supply its members with enough wood for them to process the wood into furniture in sufficient quantities that they will be able to operate their businesses sustainably.
They should be able to supply sufficient furniture products to meet the demand of customers and be competitive in both the regional and international markets, he said.