The Forestry Commission has closed down two of its Check points on the Accra/Nkawkaw road to enable free movement of lumber to the various markets.
Currently, the Nsaba Check point is closed while the Bunso Check point in the Eastern Region of Ghana will be closed on November 23.
This according to the commission is to reduce the number of Check points across the country to give way to free movement of timber and wood products harvested at the various forest reserves.
This, was made known by the Chief Executive Officer of Forestry Commission, Mr. John Allotey, when he interacted with the Nkawkaw Timber Market Association to address the difficulties they encounter in the course of their work.
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Mr. Allotey noted that his outfit has been slapped with countless complaints that the Check points are too many on the roads and officers manning the Check points constantly harras, extort monies and impound their vehicles when they are transporting the lumber to the markets.
Mr Allotey said the officials who worked at the closed check points would be sent to the forest to protect the trees from illegal chainsaw activities and as well educate them on the need to preserve the country’s ecosystem.
Mr Allotey said the Commission would continue to engage with the private wood operators at the various timber markets to intensify education on the documentation processes required in carrying out their businesses to avoid flouting the laws governing the protection of the forest.
He urged the wood operators to register with the Timber Industry Development Division of the Forestry Commission, responsible for overseeing and ensuring compliance to the laws, regulations and procedures along the supply chain from the cutting of logs to the industry floor and to export or trade on the domestic market.
Mr Allotey stated the Commission’s commitment to create the enabling and friendly environment for stakeholders in the timber industry to improve on their businesses is subject to the law.
This, he explained, would create the needed job opportunities for the teeming youth in the country.
In June 2009, the government of Ghana ratified the voluntary partnership agreements with the European Union to control illegal logging.
The agreement enforces the requirement for communities to provide written consent before logging takes place on their land. It also commits Ghana to a participatory review of forest policy, regulation and intuitions.
Nana Kofi Asante, Chairman of the Nkawkaw Timber Market Association, commended the Commission for reducing the check points, stressing that the seizure of truckloads of lumber by officials of the Commission had been the main challenge affecting the association.
He pledged to collaborate with the Commission to address the issue of illegal felling of trees in the forest and the acquisition of permits and other documentations to transport the lumber to the market.