NEEZWEIN, River Cess – EJ&J Investment Corporation, one of the logging companies operating in River Cess, has paid US$5,000 to the Community Forestry Development Committee of Forest Management Contract Area B.
The CFDC represents communities living in areas close to logging activities and is responsible for ensuring that the community not only receives its social benefits but that those benefits are distributed equally among community members.
Matthew Walley, the chairman of the CFDC, said the payment of the money by the logging company is an execution of the social agreement between EJ&J and the community.
“According to the social agreement, the company is to pay US$5,000 every semester for educational support,” Walley said. “Since we signed the agreement, we have gone two semesters, and this is the first money that the company has paid.”
Walley noted that the second portion of the money is expected to be paid by the company in March this year.
According to him, the money is not for the entire River Cess, “but for the affected communities.”
The 2006 New Forestry Reform Law requires that 30 percent of land rental fees paid to government by logging companies should be given to communities affected by the operations of the company.
The government issued three long-term forest resources licenses known as forest management contracts. Those contracts – FMC B, C, and K in River Cess – allow companies to harvest or use forest products.
Featured photo by Eric Opa Doue