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October 22, 2021, 5:42 pm

Forest protectors not paid to protect forests

(14:16:57 PM 05/03/2014)
(Tinmoitruong.vn) - About VND1 trillion was raised for the environment service fund in 2013. However, the money has not been paid to the forest owners because of the problems in the disbursement formalities.




Under a mechanism applied for the last few years, the State allocates forests to local individuals and organizations, who take the responsibility of protecting and developing the forests and get paid for the job.

The pay for the individuals and organizations is sourced from the Forest Protection and Development Fund, which collects the environment service fees from the organizations beneficiaries from the forests.

Those, who have to pay environment service fees are the ones who get direct benefits from the forests such as water production and supply, tourism firms, hydropower plants, or aquaculture companies.

With the mechanism, local people, mostly ethnic minority people, can earn their living with the forestry jobs. Meanwhile, hydropower plants can use the water sources that the forests help to protect, and tourists can enjoy the beautiful landscapes in eco-tours.

Big receipts, small expenses

According to Nguyen Ba Ngai, Deputy General Director of the Forestry General Directorate, the forest protection and development funds have been set up in 34 provinces nationwide which collected VND2.85 trillion in the years from 2009 to 2013.

The receipts tend to increase in recent years with VND1.068 trillion collected in 2013.

In 2012 and 2013, the fund’s management board decided that local people and organization would receive VND20,000 for every hectare of forests they took care of on average. The pay levels were a little higher in some localities, VND350,000 per hectare in Lam Dong, VND298,500 in Lai Chau and VND362,000 in Kon Tum.

Disbursement made in dribs and drabs

Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Ha Cong Tuan has admitted that while the fund can collect big sums of money, the forest protectors have not been paid well for their works.

In 2013, the disbursement rate was lower than 45 percent, which means that nearly VND500 billion still could not delivered to the forest owners, including the poor families in remote areas.

By the end of 2012, the fund still had had VND271 billion left undisbursed.

The slow disbursement has been blamed on a surprising reason. As the provinces do not have money to verify the total forest areas in their localities, they do not know whom to pay at all.

Ngai noted that the environment service fees can be collected mostly from hydropower plants. Meanwhile, the sum of money collected from tourism firms and eco-tourism sites remains very modest, about several billions of dong a year.

He also said that relevant agencies are carrying out a forest census which is expected to be completed by 2016. By that time, paying to forest owners would be an easier work.

“We have got the data about the forest conditions in two provinces of Bac Kan and Ha Tinh. Everyone can access to the forest ranger agencies to find all necessary information about the forest owners,” he explained.

TBKTSG
KHÔNG XẢ RÁC BỪA BÃI

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