Govt budgets GHC 9.6m for 2022 “Green Ghana project”

The government has budgeted about GHC 9.6 million for the ‘Green Ghana’ project next year, the Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Benito Owusu-Bio, has revealed.

According to him, the budget provision followed the successful implementation of the project launched last year which saw to the planting of about seven million different species of trees across the country.

“There wasn’t a direct budget line from government. Government did not give us a budget for the ‘Green Ghana’ Project in 2021. Fortunately, with the good work that we did with the participation of all Ghanaians, government has now given a budget line for Green Ghana 2022,” he explained.

Mr Owusu-Bio who was responding to a question on the expenditure for the implementation of the project last year at the Minister’s Briefing series in Accra yesterday said the project intends to plant about 20million seedlings next year.

He noted that what had been earmarked and budgeted for 2022 was GHC 9.6million, stressing that  “GHC 9.6 for 20million seedlings….the seedlings on the average sells between GHC3 and GHC4 depending on the species, so if you do your rough calculations, then you know that we need not less than GHC80million.”

Mr Owusu-Bio said though the budget was small, with the massive support of Ghanaians,  institutions, agencies and donors, the ministry would be able to achieve the target it had set out to do.

He explained that a monitoring and evaluation of last year’s tree planting revealed an 80 per cent success rate making it very encouraging for the next year.

The Minister said some measures had been put in place to ensure that the 15 per cent loss recorded was reduced to the barest minimum and the measures included the provision of cages for seedlings planted in the urban centres to ward off stray animals from destroying them.

On his part, the Chief Executive Officer of the Forestry Commission, Mr John Allotey, said even though different interventions had been put in place to deal with encroachment, wetlands and mangrove areas, the Minister had called for a comprehensive report of all the interventions that had been put in place.

He explained that the report expected was to give full disclosure of the level of encroachment and the list of all those who have encroached on the areas so the appropriate measures could be employed to salvage the situation.

He said already the report had been submitted to the Minister who had in turn set up a committee chaired by the Deputy Minister in-charge of Forestry with membership with the Lands Commission and the local authorities.

Mr Allotey explained that even though some developments were allowed around wetlands, the development must conform with the object of the wetlands.

He disclosed that the Wildlife and Ecotourism Development Bill had finally received cabinet approval after more than 13 years.

He explained that the bill was important because despite the country signing on to a number of conventions, the absence of local laws made it difficult to enforce same in the country.

The new bill, he said, when approved by parliament would provide a complete framework for the use of the country’s wildlife and ecotourism to generate the needed revenue for the country.

BY CLIFF EKUFUL

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