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03.06.2004 Regional News

Akim Kotoku chiefs object to granting of concessions to companies from

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Akim Oda (ER), June 3, GNA - The chiefs and elders of Akim Kotoku Traditional Area have petitioned President J.A. Kufour to intervene in the granting of forest reserves in the area to timber companies outside the area and refusing those based in the area.

The petition, which was signed by Obrempong Affum Afronteng IV, Adontenhene and Acting President of the traditional area, copied to the Minister of Lands and Forestry and the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning who is also the Member of Parliament for Oda.

The petition said, because of their exclusion, most of the timber companies at Akim Oda were contemplating declaring a sizeable number of their workforce redundant due to shortage of raw material.

"It is on record that forest reserves within our area have been granted to certain timber companies from other regions without the consent of Nananom," the petition added.

The petition said in view of that, they (Nananom) were pleading with the President to intervene to reverse the trend and consider timber companies in the area.

The chiefs explained that the workers who would be laid off from the timber firms would eventually become burden in the area due to lack of alternative job opportunities.

Meanwhile, investigations conducted by the Ghana News Agency, revealed that, forest reserves such as Oboyaw and Aranum in the traditional area were all allocated to timber companies from other regions.

When contacted, the Birim South District Forestry Officer, Mr Joseph Adarkwah-Aduasah, said he would not be in a position to comment, adding that, the Forestry Commission in Accra did the allocations. June 3-04