Timber Procurement Policy Would Save Ghana’s Forests—Gov’t Told
A Principal Operations Officer of the Public Procurement Agency (PPA), Mr. Francis Ayittey, is urging government to consider the proposed Public Procurement Policy on Timber and Timber Products (PPP) on Legal wood, to save Ghana’s forests from extinction.
Mr. Ayittey, who was speaking at a Stakeholders’ Discussion on the proposed PPP, organized by the Nature and Development Foundation (NDF), argued that, fears of contract cost going up as a result of the policy, are allayed by the numerous benefits the nation can derive as a result of conservation and sustainability of wood supply.
“Though prices may go higher as a result of the policy, it may end up being beneficial in the long term,” Mr. Ayittey reiterated, adding that, “all relevant sectors in the wood and timber industry must be roped in to understand the Procurement Policy.”
“The long-term advantages far outweigh the short-term disadvantages in rise in price. Environmental benefits to the country and the sustenance of the forest for future generation make the policy worth it.”
He was of the view that, the policy would guarantee wood on the market for a long time, sustaining the businesses of those who depend on the commodity.
The policy seeks primarily to get government to implement a system of procurement that only accepts legal wood for public works, as a first step towards making legal wood the only acceptable wood on the market.
Industry players are of the view that, if government adopts this policy, it would then be feasible to impose it on the private sector, thus ensuring that Ghana’s forests are sustained for the future generations.
The proposal had been presented to Cabinet but some concerns were raised on issues that needed to be clarified.
According to Mr. Musa Abu Juam of the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, Cabinet raised issues with the possibility of raising the cost of contracts, since legal wood is often more expensive than the illegal one.
He noted that it was one of the concerns that led to government delaying in the acceptance of the policy.
This concern, though legitimate, is addressed by the fact that, cumulatively, the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages.
Nature and Development Foundation (NDF), with support from the European Union (EU) on the “Strengthening the Capacity of Non State Actors (NSA) to improve FLEGT and REDD+ Processes in West Africa’’ project and UKaid on the “Building Capacities of Small-Medium Forest Enterprises (SMFEs) in Ghana and Liberia to Supply and Trade in Legal Timber” project, is spearheading the campaign to get Cabinet to accept the Public Procurement Policy on Timber and Timber Products for onward enactment by Parliament.
The document is the outcome of consultation with various stakeholders in the wood and timber industry such as the Forestry Commission (FC), the Forest Services Division (FSD), domestic wood traders associations, among others.