Government denies sell-off of state forests
PR dla Zagranicy
Minister of the Environment Maciej Grabowski has denied the government intends to sell tracts of state-owned forests in line with prospective budget reforms.
Minister Maciej Grabowski. Photo: Polish Radio
“Under absolutely no circumstances are we trying to bring about any situation that could threaten the correct functioning of the State Forests,” Grabowski told Polish Radio on Thursday.
On Tuesday, Prime Minister Donald Tusk's cabinet approved a draft law that would require the State Forests to contribute 800 million zloty (191.4 million euro) per year to the budget in both 2014 and 2015.
Each year, about 600 million zloty (143.6 million euro) would be funnelled from these payments towards the construction and renovation of Polish roads.
On Wednesday, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, leader of chief opposition party Law and Justice, suggested that the reforms could lead to the privatisation of forest land.
However, according to Grabowski, the State Forests are proving efficient enough to meet the budget requirements without recourse to hectares being sold off.
“The State Forests are well managed,” he insisted, noting that they had garnered “vast profits” over the last ten years.
Grabowski said that after the books were balanced at the end of 2013, the State Forests had 4 billion zloty (957.3 million euro) at their disposal, and that forecasts for 2014 were promising. (nh)