Lift ban on chain saw operations- Chiefs appeal
Lift ban on chain saw operations- Chiefs appeal Website
Some traditional authorities in the Sunyani municipality have appealed for a revision of section 38 of Legislative Instrument 1649 to lift the ban on chainsaw operations to help address the inadequate supply of lumber on the domestic market in the country. The chiefs contended that timber firms in the municipality had gone contrary to the provision in the Act, to supply 20 percent of their produce to the local market, which they maintained was a contributory factor to the ban on chainsaw operations in 1998. They made the appeal at a seminar organized by Abesim Afforestation Brigade, a Non-Governmental Organisation in Sunyani. The chiefs noted with concern that since chainsaw operation was illegal, perpetrators had chosen to operate in the night to outwit security agencies and thereby destroy farm produce. They suggested that Parliament enact a law to allow and monitor the activities of chainsaw operators, who could then obtain concessions and pay the necessary tax. “Since traditional rulers are the embodiment of the people, Parliament can empower them and other opinion leaders to check and ensure that chainsaw operators can work at a particular concession”, Nana Bofobene, Mirekuhene of Dormaa traditional area suggested. Nana Adu Ababio, chief of Yawhima, alleged that “some forestry officials and other personnel of security agencies condone and connive with chainsaw operators and collect undisclosed sums of money and allow them to continue with their illegal activities. “These monies inadvertently do not go into government chest and if the ban on chainsaw operations is lifted, levies can be imposed on their activities so that the necessary resources needed for nation building can go to the government”, the chief said. Nana Adu Ababio appealed to the government to intervene to help reduce the rising price of lumber, to enable the communities to afford it for development projects at the local level. Nana Amankwaa Appiah, Sanaahene of Nsoatre, asked timber firms to contact traditional authorities and other opinion leaders in areas where concessions are allocated to them before starting work to avoid unnecessary confrontations. Mr William Lartey, Brong-Ahafo Area Manager of Timber Industry Development Division, said 19 selected timber firms in the region had been mandated to supply a total timber production, whilst 42 non-selected firms are to make available 20 percent of their produce to the local market. He said 16 of the 19 firms had collapsed as they did not have the resources to produce lumber, whilst only seven of the non-selected timber firms were able to supply lumber to the local market last year for the same reason. As a result, most of the timber firms in the region have shifted to teak production for export, making the public to depend on chainsaw operators for their development projects, the area manager added. He added that the government was putting in place measures and considering how the ban on chainsaw operations could be lifted and advised the chiefs to exercise restraint and monitor recalcitrant operators in their respective communities, whose activities were depleting the forest. Mr Kwaku Yeboah, Programme Coordinator of the Brigade, said out of the 2.7 million cubic meters of timber harvested annually from the forest, chainsaw operations alone accounted for 1.5 million cubic meters. He said research conducted indicated that all timber outlets in the municipality depended on chainsaw operators for lumber, stressing that the country’s forest resources, which stood at 800 million hectares in the 20th century had reduced to less than 168 million hectares. Mr Yeboah attributed the reduction to the clearance of the forests for agriculture, wildfires, production of lumber for commercial purposes, charcoal production and uncontrolled logging. Earlier in a welcoming address, Mr Stephen Owusu Adubere, Chairman of the NGO, said the brigade was established in 1992 with the prime objective of helping to sustain the environment through afforestation. Mr Adubere disclosed that the brigade since its inception had cultivated 1,000 acres of teak at Abesim near Sunyani.