THE GOVERNMENT of the Netherlands has committed seven million euros to Ghana to support its environmental degradation efforts this year.
Lidi Remmelzwaal, the Netherlands Ambassador to Ghana, made this known to journalists in Accra at the commissioning of some 12 fire tenders and ICT equipment for the Forestry Commission at the instance of the Netherlands Government.
Noting that the cost of Ghana's environmental degradation was about 10 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP), Madam Remmelzwaal said from 2002 to date, her Government's assistance towards wildfire management stood at about 12 million euros.
She emphasised that the National Wildfire Management Policy (NWMP) had been an excellent first step in achieving a long term solution and noted that further legislation and implementation would ensure widespread knowledge as well as enforcing wildfire control among stakeholders.
The aid also covered part of goods procured under the National Wildfire Management Project (NWMP) which was funded by the Netherlands government and backed the only comprehensive national fire policy in February 2007.
Esther Obeng-Dappah, Minister of Lands, Forestry and Mines at the commissioning of 12 fire vehicle tenders for fighting bush fires and Information & Communication Technology (ICT) equipment for the Forestry Commission in Accra said procurement of these tenders, was the first of its kind in the country's history of forest management.
Mrs. Obeng-Dappah also hinted that the design and development of the vehicles were the result of a collaborative effort of Ghanaian experts among the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS), the Forestry Commission and Messrs Transit Motors and Kenbri companies in the Netherlands.
However, the sector Minister assured all that the operational vehicles and ICT equipment would be put to good use to ensure significant reduction in wildfires; improve livelihoods; and also develop the global environment.
By Nathaniel Y. Yankson