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Minister Tasks Board to Use Collective Expertise Against Galamsey, De-Forestation

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An eleven-member Board of the Forestry Commission has been inaugurated in Accra with a call on members to use their expertise to help fight against Galamsey and illegal chainsaw lumbering activities in the country.

Mr John Peter Amewu, Minister of Lands and Natural Resource, who performed the inauguration, charged the members to regulate the utilisation of forest and timber resources and manage the nation’s forest reserves.

“We are at the peak of the fight against galamsey and illegal chainsaw activities,” he said. “It is thus good timing that you are being inaugurated to join in the fight.”

Mr Amewu noted that the country’s forest and wild life resources continued to be under serious threat of degradation due to many factors, saying the situation should be of concern to all.

“Deforestation and forest degradation are manifesting themselves in the drying up of many water bodies, extinction of prime timber species and destruction of wildlife habitat, long droughts and unreliable rainfall patterns, poor agricultural patterns,” he stated.

The Minister also tasked members to also regulate the over exploitation of rosewood and other species such as Papao and Senya in the Savanna and Transitional areas.

He said it was also important that members also facilitated the implementation of the Voluntary Implementation Agreement (VIA between the Government and the European Union).

“Assist the private sector and other bodies with the implementation of forest and wildlife policies,” he said.

He explained that the VPA Agreement was to ensure that only legally produced timber products were exported to the European market.

He assured the members of the Ministry’s preparedness to cooperate fully with them in the discharge of their functions.

Brigadier General (Retired) Joseph Odei, Chairman of the Board, on behalf of the members, pledged their commitment in the fight against all illegalities in the country’s forest reserve and national parks to ensure change.

He commended the Forestry Commission for working assiduously to initiate re-afforestation projects and reclaim degraded lands.

Brigadier Gen Odei said the doors of members were also opened to consultation and constructive criticisms that would help in the realisation of the Forestry Commission’s vision and to find solutions to the numerous problems that had bedevilled the Commission.

Members of the Board include: Mr Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie, Chief Executive Officer of the Commission, Mr Richard Duah Nsenkyire and Mr George Wireko Brobby, representatives of Timber Trade Industry, Mr Henry Kwabena Kokofu, a representative of the Ghana Institute of Professional Foresters, and Mr Salifu Sulemana, a representative of Non-Governmental Organisations involved in Forest and Wildlife management.

The rest are Dr. Wilfred Kwabena Anim –Odame, a representative of the Lands Commission, Kumbun-Na Iddrisu Abu II, a representative of the National House of Chiefs, Nana Akosua K. Agyeman Prempeh, Togbe Gabusu VI, and Mr Mahmoud Hamid Nassir-Deen all nominees of the President.

The inauguration of the Board is in compliance with the Forestry Commission Act, 1999, Act 571.

Source: GNA

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