Minister Warns Forestry Officials

The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Nii Osa Mills, has warned officials of the Forestry Commission against issuing fake licences to timber contractors.

He said the recent arrest of containers of Rosewood at the Tema Port and other illegal activities that go to aid indiscriminate felling of wood, would not be tolerated by the ministry, adding,  “That is the only way to ensure that people engaged in the sector use the legally approved species for their businesses”.

Nii Osa Mills gave the warning on his maiden visit to the offices of the Commission in Accra yesterday, to acquaint himself with their operations.

He said the ministry would not tolerate any activity that would drag the name of the Commission in the mud, hence, the need to act professionally when dealing with merchants in the timber sector.

The minister suggested that officials of the Commission mandated to enforce, monitor, and ensure compliance, must be made to swear an oath when employed, to officially bond them on their duties.

Nii Osa said the ministry was ready to promulgate any law that would help officials to discharge their duties effectively and efficiently.

He urged the Commission to adopt measures that would help generate enough revenue to enable them to implement scheduled programmes, instead of depending on government subventions.

“You have to explore all avenues to generate enough resources to enable you to fulfil your mandate as a Commission, instead of depending  on government subventions,” he said.

Nii Osa assured that every possible avenue would be exploited to fast track the  inauguration of the Forestry Board.

He advised them against unnecessary expenditures and also to avoid leakages towards meeting their internally generated fund targets.

The Chief Executive of the Commission, Mr. Samuel Afari-Dartey, commended the minister for the visit and assured him that the pieces of advice would be taken seriously to ensure that the Commission meets its target.

He appealed to the government for early release of funds to enable them to carry out all intended projects adding that “The resources are not forthcoming and this is greatly affecting our work. That is why we are using this opportunity to appeal to you to help us get the resources on time to effectively run the activities of the Commission.”

By Lawrence Vomafa-Akpalu

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