Business News of 2013-12-19

Gov’t develops wood procurement policy

Alhaji Inusah Fuseini, Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, has said that the government has developed a new Wood Procurement Policy to reduce the volume of illegally traded lumber on the local market.

Government, he averred, would ensure that only legally produced lumber are used for government’s projects.

According to the Lands and Natural Resources Minister, the move would drastically reduce the volume of illegally traded lumber on the domestic market, which is currently estimated at 80 per cent.

Speaking at the launch of the revised version of the 19 year-old Forest and Wildlife Policy in Accra, Alhaji Fuseini stated that the effects of deforestation and forest degradation are beginning to manifest themselves in the extinction of water bodies, loss of important timber species and wildlife habitat, among others.

He noted that the matter had been compounded by the rise in climatic temperatures and unpredictable rainfall patterns due to climate change, insisting that the new policy would shift from the overdependence on timber revenues to biodiversity, conservation and ecotourism development.

Inusah Fuseini indicated that unfortunately after almost two decades of implementing the policy, Ghana’s timber and non-timber forest resources are being overexploited and continue to decline in quantity and quality.

“Studies have shown that the cost of the nation’s forest and wildlife resources is estimated at 10 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and this should be a major concern to all Ghanaians.

Until the launch of the revised edition of the policy, the country, since 1994, operated the Forest and Wildlife Policy, which replaced the first formal policy of 1948 formulated for the conservation and protection of forest reserves estates.

The implementation of the policy introduced a number of strategic initiatives and sector reforms which sought to improve and develop the forest resource base and integrate good governance, transparency, equity and poverty reduction into the forest and wildlife sector.