Two technological platforms aimed at enhancing timber trade in Ghana have been launched at Ejisu in the Ashanti Region.
Dubbed “Property Market Registration/Renewal Process platform and Electronic Wood Tracking System,” it would be deployed by the Forestry Commission to ensure effectiveness in the monitoring and enforcement in the timber business and improve revenue mobilisation.
Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abdulai Jinapor, who launched the two platforms yesterday said registration/renewal portal would enable traders to apply for registration or renewal of property marks required for the cutting or felling of trees under Section 2 of the Trees and Timber Act, 1974 (NRCD 273).
“This would help significantly to reduce the many precious hours and days loggers spend in their quest to renew their marks.
“Additionally, it will facilitate the collation and management of forestry data, leading to possibilities for more effective mobilisation, as well as reporting on the contribution to socio-economic development,” he added.
The initiative, he said, was in accord with emerging global trends that now increasingly determine the protocols that govern the management, regulation and trade in forest products.
He explained that the technological infrastructure enables Ghana to access the international market and attract the requisite investment into the timber industry.
Presently, Mr Jinapor noted that the forest industry was the mainstay of the rural population, supporting two million people and contributing also to both domestic and international markets.
The Minister said between 2019 and 2020, more than €266 million worth of timber was exported from Ghana, while €113 million was recorded between January and October 2021.
He reiterated government’s commitment to sustainably manage and develop Ghana’s forests and wildlife resources to ensure a more valuable forest and wildlife endowments.
Chief Executive Officer of the Forestry Commission, John Allotey, said the Commission has installed solar panels in 34 districts across the country to power the tracking devices.
Dr Julian P. Wright, West Africa Senior Climate Change and Natural Resources Advisor at the British High Commission, noted that the United Kingdom (UK) had invested £10 million to develop solar to power the digital tracking system.
He said the systems would help deal with revenue leakage and enable enforcement in the sector.
He added that it would further enhance international trade and Ghana’s value in the timber trade.
FROM CLAUDE NYARKO ADAMS, EJISU