Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Kwaku Asomah-Cheremeh on Wednesday assured the public that Government will not burn seized rosewood but rather put them to meaningful use.
The CEO of the Forestry Commission, Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie, had declared that as part of measures to curtail the illegal trade, the Commission had decided to among other things, burn all seized rosewood, as a deterrent.
However, reacting to the declaration of the Forestry Commission’s CEO, Mr. Asomah-Cheremeh while addressing journalists at the Meet-the-Press series in Accra said the Ministry had not issued any salvage permits for the harvesting of rosewoods since the ban was placed on the rare species in March this year.
“The ministry is not aware. When I say the ministry, I mean the ministry proper and the forest commission in this circumstance, is not aware of the statement that rosewood seized will be burnt and indeed the seized rosewood will not be burnt. We’ll use it for a different purpose instead of burning it,” he declared.
The Minister said he constituted a seven-member investigative committee, comprising representatives of civil society organizations, Ghana Revenue Authority and Parliamentary Select Committee on Lands and Forestry to unravel the activities of illegal exploitation of rosewoods and bring the perpetrators to book.
He said the final report of the investigative committee would be made public and urged all well-meaning Ghanaians to support Government’s efforts to curb the harvesting, transportation and export of the species.
Mr. Asomah-Cheremeh said since 2017, Government established 20,073 hectares of plantation, while hundreds of youth were recruited under the Youth in Afforestation programmme to support government’s plantation programme to safeguard the Sanctity of the environment.
A total of 83,247 employment was generated under the forest plantation sector, he added.
The Minister announced that from 2016 to 2019, a total of 2.1 million cubic metres of natural forest timber for domestic and export was harvested and the proceeds from it were managed by the Office of the Stool Lands and Forestry Commission.
He said from 2016 to 2019, 177,801 assorted lumber, 487 chainsaws, 279 vehicles, 355 dredging machines, and 68 logs were seized.
In addition, 3,277 hectares of illegal farms were destroyed, while 774 suspects were arrested while 293 were prosecuted.
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