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19.12.2007 Business & Finance

Timber Merchants Slam Forestry C’ssion

By Daily Guide

MEMBERS OF the Ghana Association of Teak Exporters (GATEX) have kicked against what they see as the invasion of foreigners into the teak industry.

The GATEX members, who expressed this concern over the weekend at their general meeting held at Akyawkrom near Ejisu in the Ashanti Region, lamented that upfront deposit of 50 percent demanded by the Forestry Commission (FC) during teak biddings, had led to the invasion of the foreigners, mainly Indians and Lebanese.

Bright Nkeyasan, a member of the association slammed the FC for “doing nothing for the local teak industry to sustain the sector”.

According to him, the 50 per cent upfront deposit for winning a bid to cultivate teak had given the foreigners an upper hand over local teak merchants.

He said most of the local merchants, who did not have money to pay the 50 per cent upfront deposit had to go to the foreigners to finance them and this, he said, eventually affected the local firms, and ultimately the country.

Mr. Nkeyasan therefore urged the executives to put stringent measure in place to ensure that the FC reviewed the requirement to suit all and sundry in the teak business.

GATEX last week held its first general meeting to elect national executives to steer the affairs of the association for the next couple of years.

Two years ago, members of the association dissolved their former executive led by Nana Joe Kumah over what they described as inefficiency.

They later put in place an Interim Committee (IMC) under the presidency of Joseph Kwaku Siaw from Oti Yeboah Complex.

Mr. Siaw and some of the members of the IMC were confirmed in an election supervised by the Electoral Commission, as substantive leaders.

The newly elected president of GATEX called on the members to assist them to achieve results.

The newly elected executives were J.K. Siaw, President; Nana Kontoh, Queen mother of Nkwae Panin, Vice President; and Kwasi Asante, National Treasurer.

Other executive members were Linda Ababio and Henry K. Kokofu.

From Simmons Yussif Kewura, Kumasi

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