Ghana Needs $14.16m For Timber Importation

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The country’s forest reserves are being depleted by illegal chainsaw operators.

Mr. Anthony Asare, Communication Director of Domestic Lumber Trade Association (DOLTA), of Ghana, has said the country needs about US$14,159,340 for importation of timber, due to illegal exportation of lumber and continuous depletion of the country’s forest reserves.

He also called on government to expedite action on the 2008 Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) to ensure sanity in the domestic lumber market.
Mr. Asare explained that according to the VPA, timber originating from Ghana and arriving at the European Union (EU) points of import without permit, should be denied entry, but the lack of implementation of the VPA to safeguard the forest reserves, was affecting the timber industry in Ghana..
He made the call at a workshop in Accra, which brought together about 50 members of the association, to sensitise operators of the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the forest sector, on the agreement.
Mr. Asare said Ghana needed about 48,000 cubic meters of timber annually to meet demands, noting that the importation is necessary because it would help reserve the country’s forest.
“Now the timber in the forest do not mature properly before they are harvested resulting in low quality timber products. It is necessary to import in order to cease all activities in the country’s forest reserves,” he said.
The president of the association, Mr. Victor Nyadi, said that though Ghana was the first country to have completed its VPA negotiation with the EU, it has failed to utilise the significant components of the agreement.
However, he noted that the workshop was to educate members of the association on other important components of the VPA agreement.
Mr. Nyadi called on government to implement the VPA and FLEGHT licence policies, which comprises the domestic market policy and timber product procurement to safeguard the timber industry. By Bernard Benghan

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