John Peter Amewu, Minister for Lands and Natural Resources
Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in the forest sub-sector of Ghana have commended the new Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Peter Amewu, for immediately issuing a directive to restore sanity in the forestry sector.
In a joint statement, the CSOs explained that the directive immediately deals with illegal logging, mining and encroachment in forest reserves.
The 23 CSOs, including Civic Response, Forest Watch Ghana, Friends of the Earth, pointed out that the directive would further halt all special permits issued after 10th December, 2016, halt all operations of loggers with expired permits, logging of rosewood, and finally ban all rosewood exports.
“We believe this is a good approach to sanitizing a sector which is bedeviled with immense challenges, including endemic corruption, breakdown in professionalism and overbearing negative influence of politicians,” the statement said.
It contended that “the rosewood situation can best be described as “complete insanity.” Ghana illegally exported rosewood amounting to 10% of the global trade in 2016.”
The problems keep escalating, as exports in the banned wood continue in flagrant defiance of the previous directives banning rosewood exports, it added.
According to the statement, “While Ghana has been making noticeable progress in efforts to reduce illegal logging with the implementation of the FLEGT-VPA and the contribution of many NGOs, the abuse of political power has caused an upsurge in the illegal practice in some parts of Ghana.”
“Some forest encroachments have been masterminded by politicians, particularly in parts of the Western Region.”
By Melvin Tarlue