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Business News of Thursday, 20 March 2014

Source: GNA

Ghana to consider importation of timber

The government is exploring the possibility of importing logs and lumber from other countries, to make up for the deficit in the domestic wood market.

Ms Barbara Serwaa Asamoah, Deputy Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, said arrangements were being made with Cameroun in that direction. This highlights the serious decline in the nation’s timber resources caused by over-exploitation.

Speaking at the Ashanti regional launch of the forest and wildlife policy in Kumasi, the deputy minister announced the development of a new wood procurement regime under which only legally produced lumber would be used for government’s projects.

It is meant to drastically reduce the volume of illegally traded lumber in the domestic market, currently estimated at about 80 per cent. She expressed grave concern about the growing degradation of the forest, the cost of which is put at 10 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

The new policy focuses on biodiversity conservation, transparent forest governance, equity sharing and citizens participation in forest and wildlife management. It also places premium on eco-tourism development, to optimize the benefits from the forests.

The Deputy Minister said a forestry development action plan would be put in place to ensure its successful implementation, and she invited all stakeholders to join in efforts at helping to achieve set targets to benefit present and future generations.

She also encouraged the private sector to invest in commercial plantations in support of the drive to restore all degraded landscapes, to meet future industrial timber needs.

Mr Joseph Osiakwan, Policy Co-ordinator at the Ministry, drew attention to the dangers posed by climatic changes, and urged greater investment in reforestation programmes.

Nana Adu Agyei Bonsafo the second, Omanhene of Nsuta, advised the people to guard against practises that tended to destroy the forest and its resources.

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