The ABG Department of Primary Industries has received the first payment in cocoa export levies from a local Bougainville exporter.
Local Bougainvillean-owned business SANKAMAP EXPORTERS Ltd was the first local exporter to make its payment of cocoa export levies of K10,900.00 to the ABG Department of Primary Industries this week.
The payment of cocoa levies is made under a current Memorandum of Agreement that was signed between the PNG Cocoa Board and ABG Department of Primary Industries in October last year.
The Memorandum of Agreement captures the ongoing partnership of the transfer of functions and assets of the Commodity Board including the Cocoa Management levy. Under this arrangement, the ABG Department of Primary Industries will collect 70% of the total cocoa export levies from local cocoa exporters, while 30% is retained by the PNG Cocoa Board for administrative costs of their Buka office.
These new arrangements are being implemented under the Bougainville Commodities Regulation (BCR) Act which was passed in 2020 by the Bougainville Parliament, followed by the subsequent development of the Bougainville Cocoa Regulations which is a subsidiary law to the to the BCR Act 2020.
ABG Secretary for Primary Industries Kenneth Dovaro thanked SANKAMAP EXPORTERS for being the first to remit its levy payment under the directions set out in the Bougainville Cocoa Regulations.
He said his Department is also negotiating with other PNG Boards and Corporations to have similar arrangements established for other commodities such as copra, coffee, spices etc.
“We want to create an industry that will fit our context, be beneficial, user-friendly and we want our farmers to improve their livelihood. They (farmers) must not remain as just primary producers but under the Bougainville Commodities Regulations Act, they will be encouraged to venture into the cottage industry as well,” he said.
Secretary Dovaro said a separate trust account has been established under the BCR Act 2020 and the revenue generated through the Cocoa Management Levies will be used for further development of this industry.
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