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Gov’t permits over 20 companies to fell rosewood

The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, John Peter Amewu, has given approval for the grant of permit to Messrs. Jusdal Plus, and other  twenty-four companies to salvage Rosewood from the Brong-Ahafo, Upper East, Upper West and Northern Regions.

Previously, there had been a ban on felling of rosewood. In the last few years, harvesting of the species had gone out of control and in curbing the indiscipline, the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources in 2014 banned the harvesting, transportation, export, sale or processing of rosewood in the country which mainly come from the three Northern regions.

The companies are to strictly comply with seventeen guidelines and regulations relating to the grant of timber rights and also pay all statutory fees and approval premiums.

In a letter signed by acting Executive Director of the Forestry Commission, Forest Services Division, Oppon Sasu, and dated 16th August, 2017,  directed the affected companies to comply with the guidelines for the evacuation of lying logs, harvesting, processing and transportation of the Rosewood.

The companies by the guidelines are to among others maximize revenue and logs with valid permit shall be sold at GHC120.00, while confiscated logs shall be sold at GHC200.00.

Also payment of statutory levy and premium shall be made upcountry  via bankers draft before approval of export permit.

Containers in transit to the ports are not to be sealed to enable easy access for inspection at check points and customs points.

Inspectors at checkpoints shall endorse and stamp the document covering the rosewood consignment in transit before allowing the truck to move to its final destination.

Inspectors at checkpoints shall within 24 hours report any illegal produced consignment or consignment without appropriate documentation to the nearest forestry commission office, while all broken down trucks carrying Rosewood shall report to the nearest Forestry Commission office within two days.

Efforts to ascertain whether or not there are still rosewood logs to be salvaged in the region proved futile, because  the new regional forestry director for Upper East is yet to report to duty.

But a pressure group, Northern Patriots in Research and Advocacy (NORPRA), wants government to revoke permits granted the affected companies stressing that, there was no existing logs of rosewood in the region for salvage.

He hinted that, they shall stage series of actions to stop the move if government fails to act on the plea.

Below is NORPRA’s statement:

NORPRA CALLS ON GOVERNMENT TO STOP HARVESTING ROESEWOOD IN NORTHERN SAVANNAH ZONE

The Northern Patriots in Research and Advocacy (NORPRA), is calling on the Nana Addo administration to demonstrate one more time that it is a listening government by revoking all permits granted to over 20 companies to harvest and process rosewood trees in northern Ghana and that of the Brong Ahafo region.

NORPRA has intercepted a copy of a document signed by the Chief Executive of Forestry Commission granting approval to over 20 companies to engage in logging rosewood in northern Ghana and Brong Ahafo region. In an effort to ascertain the facts on the operations of these companies, NORPRA made a field trip to a number of communities in the Talensi district of the upper east region and shockingly saw for itself rosewood being cut down in commercial quantities.

It is recalled that environmentally conscious Ghanaians, climate change advocates and people of northern Ghana strongly supported the NPP in opposition when the party raised the alarm bell through a press conference on the felling of these rosewood tress in northern Ghana. The Nana Addo led government was again highly went applauded when government in the 2017 Budget Statement  and Economic Policy stated that it had placed high premium on combating climate change through prioritization of climate change programmes and projects. Regrettably, this same government in this very month of August is authorizing the cutting down of the same rosewood trees in the part of the country that has livelihoods seriously threatened by the harsh impacts of climate change.

What is more worrying is that government is engaging in this environmentally unfriendly action at a time Ghana’s development partners and the international community are sympathizing with the Ghanaian people on the increasing impacts of climate change on livelihoods and supporting the country with huge resources to implement a number of climate adaptation projects to help the people especially rural communities to improve livelihoods under severe climate change impacts through effective adaptation interventions.

Government needs to be constantly reminded that research has already shown clearly that impacts of climate change will intensify in northern Ghana with temperature increasing by 2OC by the year 2030. This is certainly very alarming and what NORPRA expects of government is to rededicate itself to the implementation of a very comprehensive national policy on climate change to minimize the threats posed by climate change.

This very action of the government is therefore not only undermining and defeating the noble objectives of the country’s climate change policy and that of the Paris Agreement on climate change but also a demonstration of no practical commitment to the global development agenda such as the Africa Agenda 2063 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

We wish to conclude by urging government to, as a matter of urgency stop all these companies from further logging of the rosewood trees in northern Ghana that is already grabbling with desertification and other climate change impacts. NORPRA will not hesitate to embark on series of well-organized actions to stop the companies from turning the affected communities into a complete desert if government does not respond in good time.

Bismark Adongo Ayorogo

(Executive Director)

By: Frederick Awuni/citifmonline.com/Ghana

 

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