Sell seized wood from chainsaw operators( Monday. Dec 8, 2010) pg 81


The Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources has ordered the sale of all confiscated illegal timber seized from chainsaw operators.

The directive, however, does not include seized Rosewood. There is currently a ban on the harvesting, transporting and exporting of Rosewood.

The sector Minister, Nii Osah Mills, who gave the order when he visited the Forestry Commission (FC) Depot in Accra, urged the Commission to dispose of all the seized lumber based on existing guidelines and procedures.








The minister asked the FC to carry out the exercise with transparency, fairness and accountability.

At least 75 trucks carrying illegal timber have been impounded in the Greater Accra Region since October to date.

Ban

The Ministry on October 21, this year placed a ban on the sale of chainsaw lumber ostensibly to control the destruction of the country’s forest.

The ban was to enable the ministry to review and streamline the processes of the confiscation and sale of seized wood.

As part of the confiscation process, truck owners/drivers hauling the lumber are fined between GH¢800 to GH¢2,500, depending on the size of their trucks.


The drivers are asked to swear an affidavit not to engage in the illegal activity again. Those who renege get their trucks permanently impounded.

At the Achimota Depot of the Forestry Commission in Accra, a dozen trucks remained parked while thousands of planks had been offloaded.

Speaking to the media during the visit,  Nii Osah said the sale of chain-sawn timber had become so rampant that the first point of purchase of timber for projects by many Ghanaians was chain-sawn rather than the recognised sawmills.

According to the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources data, the volume of illegal wood traded on the domestic market was 80 per cent of wood available on the market. 

“My observation over the last six weeks based on the number of vehicles seized with chain-sawn timber in Accra alone indicates that the situation is very alarming and if not controlled our efforts to fight against deforestation and forest degradation will be meaningless.”

He said a more worrying observation was that even contractors who had won contracts to undertake government projects patronised illegal chain-sawn materials for such projects. 

According to him, the reason many people were buying chain-sawn lumber was because they were cheap and readily available.

Dangers of chainsaw use

Making a case against illegal timber, Nii Osah said the quality of the wood was largely inferior because the chainsaw operators often cut down immature trees which were not good for construction.

“In addition, chainsaw operations are wasteful and deplete the environment and at the same time deprive the nation of substantial taxes which they do not pay at all.”

He, therefore, advised the public to desist from engaging chain saw operators to produce lumber for them to discourage the practice.

Nii Mills, however, said as part of measures to arrest the chain saw menace, the government would soon approve the implementation of a Timber Procurement Policy that mandated all government projects to be undertaken with only legally produced lumber.

In addition, the Rapid Response Team of the FC would be strengthened to intensify monitoring activities at the forest gate, lumber in transit from the forest and the market centres, to clamp down on chain saw operations.

The Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources has ordered the sale of all confiscated illegal timber seized from chainsaw operators.
The directive, however, does not include seized Rosewood. There is currently a ban on the harvesting, transporting and exporting of Rosewood.
The sector Minister, Nii Osah Mills, who gave the order when he visited the Forestry Commission (FC) Depot in Accra, urged the Commission to dispose of all the seized lumber based on existing guidelines and procedures.
The minister asked the FC to carry out the exercise with transparency, fairness and accountability.
At least 75 trucks carrying illegal timber have been impounded in the Greater Accra Region since October to date.

Ban

The Ministry on October 21, this year placed a ban on the sale of chainsaw lumber ostensibly to control the destruction of the country’s forest.
The ban was to enable the ministry to review and streamline the processes of the confiscation and sale of seized wood.
As part of the confiscation process, truck owners/drivers hauling the lumber are fined between GH¢800 to GH¢2,500, depending on the size of their trucks.
The drivers are asked to swear an affidavit not to engage in the illegal activity again. Those who renege get their trucks permanently impounded.
At the Achimota Depot of the Forestry Commission in Accra, a dozen trucks remained parked while thousands of planks had been offloaded.
Speaking to the media during the visit,  Nii Osah said the sale of chain-sawn timber had become so rampant that the first point of purchase of timber for projects by many Ghanaians was chain-sawn rather than the recognised sawmills.
According to the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources data, the volume of illegal wood traded on the domestic market was 80 per cent of wood available on the market.
“My observation over the last six weeks based on the number of vehicles seized with chain-sawn timber in Accra alone indicates that the situation is very alarming and if not controlled our efforts to fight against deforestation and forest degradation will be meaningless.”
He said a more worrying observation was that even contractors who had won contracts to undertake government projects patronised illegal chain-sawn materials for such projects.
According to him, the reason many people were buying chain-sawn lumber was because they were cheap and readily available.

Dangers of chainsaw use

Making a case against illegal timber, Nii Osah said the quality of the wood was largely inferior because the chainsaw operators often cut down immature trees which were not good for construction.
“In addition, chainsaw operations are wasteful and deplete the environment and at the same time deprive the nation of substantial taxes which they do not pay at all.”
He, therefore, advised the public to desist from engaging chain saw operators to produce lumber for them to discourage the practice.
Nii Mills, however, said as part of measures to arrest the chain saw menace, the government would soon approve the implementation of a Timber Procurement Policy that mandated all government projects to be undertaken with only legally produced lumber.
In addition, the Rapid Response Team of the FC would be strengthened to intensify monitoring activities at the forest gate, lumber in transit from the forest and the market centres, to clamp down on chain saw operations.
- See more at: http://graphic.com.gh/news/general-news/35051-sell-seized-wood-from-chainsaw-operators.html#sthash.3q3hmFXV.dpuf
The Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources has ordered the sale of all confiscated illegal timber seized from chainsaw operators.
The directive, however, does not include seized Rosewood. There is currently a ban on the harvesting, transporting and exporting of Rosewood.
The sector Minister, Nii Osah Mills, who gave the order when he visited the Forestry Commission (FC) Depot in Accra, urged the Commission to dispose of all the seized lumber based on existing guidelines and procedures.
The minister asked the FC to carry out the exercise with transparency, fairness and accountability.
At least 75 trucks carrying illegal timber have been impounded in the Greater Accra Region since October to date.
Ban
The Ministry on October 21, this year placed a ban on the sale of chainsaw lumber ostensibly to control the destruction of the country’s forest.
The ban was to enable the ministry to review and streamline the processes of the confiscation and sale of seized wood.
As part of the confiscation process, truck owners/drivers hauling the lumber are fined between GH¢800 to GH¢2,500, depending on the size of their trucks.
The drivers are asked to swear an affidavit not to engage in the illegal activity again. Those who renege get their trucks permanently impounded.
At the Achimota Depot of the Forestry Commission in Accra, a dozen trucks remained parked while thousands of planks had been offloaded.
Speaking to the media during the visit,  Nii Osah said the sale of chain-sawn timber had become so rampant that the first point of purchase of timber for projects by many Ghanaians was chain-sawn rather than the recognised sawmills.
According to the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources data, the volume of illegal wood traded on the domestic market was 80 per cent of wood available on the market. 
“My observation over the last six weeks based on the number of vehicles seized with chain-sawn timber in Accra alone indicates that the situation is very alarming and if not controlled our efforts to fight against deforestation and forest degradation will be meaningless.”
He said a more worrying observation was that even contractors who had won contracts to undertake government projects patronised illegal chain-sawn materials for such projects. 
According to him, the reason many people were buying chain-sawn lumber was because they were cheap and readily available.
Dangers of chainsaw use
Making a case against illegal timber, Nii Osah said the quality of the wood was largely inferior because the chainsaw operators often cut down immature trees which were not good for construction.
“In addition, chainsaw operations are wasteful and deplete the environment and at the same time deprive the nation of substantial taxes which they do not pay at all.”
He, therefore, advised the public to desist from engaging chain saw operators to produce lumber for them to discourage the practice.
Nii Mills, however, said as part of measures to arrest the chain saw menace, the government would soon approve the implementation of a Timber Procurement Policy that mandated all government projects to be undertaken with only legally produced lumber.
In addition, the Rapid Response Team of the FC would be strengthened to intensify monitoring activities at the forest gate, lumber in transit from the forest and the market centres, to clamp down on chain saw operations.

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