The Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources has not granted permit to any company to harvest rosewood in any part of the country, a Deputy Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Mr Benito Owusu-Bio, yesterday, disclosed on the floor of Parliament.
Mr Owusu-Bio explained that there were companies whose permits were supposed to have expired by 31st December 2016, but were still operating after that date.
He was answering a question posed by Dr Clement Apaak, Member of Parliament for Builsa South, on the grant of approvals and permits to companies to salvage rosewood in any part of the country.
According to Mr Owusu-Bio, the Ministry had constituted a taskforce to assess the situation and provide recommendations on how to enforce the ban on further harvesting of rosewood.
Subsequently, he said, the Forestry Commission had also been directed to sanitise operations in the sector.
He disclosed that a large number of rosewood logs had been lying in various locations across the savannah and transitional zones, and that as a short term measure to prevent the logs from losing their economic value through bushfires and harsh environmental conditions, some companies were granted approval to salvage the lying logs.
Mr Owusu-Bio said a total volume of 54,183 cubic meters had been salvaged and corresponding revenue of Gh¢ 6,502,027 had accrued.
He said as a medium-term measure to control further harvesting of rosewood, arrangements were being made in collaboration with Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITIES) and Civil Society Organizations to introduce a quota system that will regulate how much rosewood was exploited at a given period.
He disclosed that a policy on Tree Tenure and Benefit Sharing for trees outside the forest was being discussed to motivate farmers to resist the illegal exploitation of rosewood and other tree resources on their farms and stop speculative felling by illegal operators.
Going forward, he said, the Forestry Commission would collaborate with the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation and the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development to effectively implement the measures.
Source: ISD (Eva Frempon-Ntiamoah)