After the ruling Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union promised to the opposition conservatives to bring back the value-added tax (VAT) discount, the parliament on Tuesday approved the restructuring scheme of the country's forestry sector that has triggered heated debates in the society.
Work in a forest
© Stopkadras / DELFI.TV

At the end of the spring session, the amendments to the Law on Forests were supported by 82 Lithuanian parliamentarians, 16 were against and 12 abstained. The reform was supported by the LFGU and opposition conservatives along with some of the Liberals also part of the opposition, while the ruling Social Democrats voted against or abstained, just like the opposition Order and Justice party.

The parliament decided to scrap the Directorate General of State Forests, with one or more companies put in charge of the country's forests. The number is yet to be set by the government, which currently suggests founding one company instead of the existing 42.

Environment Minister Kęstutis Navickas said the company would be established in 2018, with the current companies operating as its branches.

The suggestion for Lithuania to do away with its 43 forestry companies (including the directorate general) was made by Angel Gurria, secretary general of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, in mid-March of 2016. He stressed the need for transparent management of state companies, which should pay dividend and taxes, furthermore, their board members should be appointed in a transparent manner. President Dalia Grybauskaitė has also repeatedly advised merger of the regional forestry companies.

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