The Slovenia Times

State-owned forestry company to be incorporated


About 20% of Slovenia's forests are in state ownership. "The bill aims to create a solid basis for the development of the wood industry," Dejan Židan, the minister of agriculture, forestry and food, said after the cabinet session.

The legislation has been in the making since shortly after a devastating ice storm felled millions of trees in early 2014, with Židan its main proponent.

While Židan said today that the coalition was unified in its support for the bill, the establishment of a new state-owned forestry company is not without its opponents.

Logging companies have understandably been against the move, but so have some environmental non-governmental organisations, which have said a new state monopoly would not benefit the wood industry.

Židan said today that that most jobs in the industry were downstream, with the new legislation making it possible for firms to sign multi-year contracts "to create a new and better business environment".

As for the specifics of the new system, Židan said forests will remain in state ownership while the company, called Slovenski državni gozdovi, will manage and exploit them.

Pending adoption of the law in parliament, the company will take over state-owned forests on 1 July along with the 50 employees at the public Forest and Farmland Fund currently working on forestry.

By the end of the year the company is expected to have 200 employees.

The 28 holders of existing logging licences, most of which expire in July, will be able to bid for contracts awarded by the state-owned firm.

Židan said he understood the licence holders were afraid, but that was unnecessary. "When the bids for forest work are solicited, competence and experience will count," he said.

According to the minister, the ultimate goal of the legislation is to improve forest management and the transparency thereof, with a view to increasing returns.

The state forest company will pay the state a fee equalling 20% of revenue from wood sales, which the government says will bring in much more revenue that the existing system.


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