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30.04.2004 Business & Finance

Forestry Commission opens bids for timber utilization contract

By GNA

Accra, April 30, GNA - The Forestry Commission (FC) on Friday opened the first session for competitive bidding to begin on the allocation of Timber Utilization Contract (TUC) Areas. In all 184 companies are bidding for the 28 lots, which include 13 forest reserve areas and 15 off-reserve areas, to be managed for 40 years.

Sixty-nine lots were first advertised for biding, which was later split into two sessions to make the bidding process manageable. Madam Theresa Tagoe, Deputy Minister of Lands and Forestry, said the competitive system of allocating the timber resources was a sign of the Government's commitment to good governance, transparency and the rule of law.

She said the objective of this new system of allocation was to enhance the benefits accruing from the resource for all beneficiaries including landowners, forest communities, industry and the nation. She said the enactment of Act 617 and Legislative Instrument (LI) 1721 gave the procedural guidance for the competitive bidding, adding that a major achievement of this new system was the general consensus that it was free and fair in the allocation of the resources.

Madam Tagoe noted that for the first time in recent history, the familiar accusation of favouritism and nepotism that were usually associated with the timber allocation process was missing. She said the Ministry intended to build on the strength of the system to improve the performance of the Government to the satisfaction of all stakeholders.

She further noted that the second bidding session for natural forest TUCs would be announced at a later date and congratulated bidders, who had gone through the first phase of pre-qualification to have arrived at this stage of the process.

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