Lands Ministry Sustains Deforestation Fight

Benito Owusu-Bio

Deputy Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Benito Owusu-Bio, has said the government is unrelenting in the fight against illegal logging in order to prevent wanton destruction of the country’s forest cover.

According to him, illegal logging is having a devastating impact on the country’s remaining forest cover and the government is determined to clamp down on the widespread practice, in the Ahafo Region in particular.

In an interaction with staff of the Forestry Commission at Goaso in the Ahafo Region on January 6, 2022, the Deputy Minister urged the officials not to connive with illegal logging operators.

“We know that you know the chainsaw operators in the communities around. Please advise them to stop their illegalities,” he cautioned.

He said whilst there appear to be no mining activities taking place in the region’s forest reserves, the practice of illegal logging and lumbering has become prevalent.

Mr. Owusu-Bio again called on the staff of the Forestry Services Division (FSD), the Timber Industry Development Division (TIDD) and the Wildlife Division to work together to  ensure that the auctioning of confiscated woods do not go back to people who were involved in the illegal act, saying “no one should be allowed to benefit from his own illegalities.”

The Deputy Minister’s visit was a follow-up on the recent official tour of the Ahafo Region by the sector minister, Samuel Abdulai Jinapor, during which he addressed the concerns of the chiefs and people of the area on the auctioning of confiscated wood.

Mr. Owusu-Bio, who is also the Member of Parliament for Atwima-Nwabiagya in the Ashanti Region, asked the Forestry Commission staff to prepare for this year’s Green Ghana Day event.

He commended the officers for their tireless efforts in helping to achieve targets of the ministry last year.

The minister later paid a courtesy call on the Ahafo Regional Minister, George Boakye, and asked for his support and collaboration for celebration of the 2022 Green Ghana initiative.

“There is an urgent need for the Regional Forestry team to work with you as the Regional Minister and Head of Regional Security Council (REGSEC) to help reduce the rate of deforestation and forest degradation in this region,” he appealed.

Ahafo Regional Minister, George Boakye, commended the forestry staff for their dedication to duty and urged them to sustain the effort to curb the illegal logging menace, saying “this year, the Ahafo Regional Coordinating Council will support the Forestry Commission in the region to fully implement and achieve its 2022 Green Ghana target of 1.2million seedlings.”

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Forestry Commission, John Allotey, said the Ahafo Region will play a key role towards restoring the country’s forest cover.

By Ernest Kofi Adu