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13.06.2005 Politics

Three per cent export levy on Timber is illegal-Dauda

GNA

Akyawkrom (Ash), June 13, GNA - Mr Collins Dauda, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Ranking Member of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Lands, Forestry and Mines, has described the imposition of three per cent export levy on timber by the Forestry Commission (FC) as illegal. He has therefore, called on the Timber Industry Development Board, a division of the Commission that has been deducting the levy to stop.

Mr Dauda, who was speaking to newsmen on the sidelines during a joint seminar of the Select Committee and the FC at the Wood Industries Training Centre (WITC) at Akyawkrom in the Ejisu-Juaben District, stated that the levy was a tax and should have been approved by Parliament. "All taxes, under Act 174 of the Constitution, must be imposed by Parliament and as far as I know, there is no legislation that empowers the Commission to do that".

Mr Dauda noted that the timber industry was collapsing under the burden of levies and said the operators must be given some relief. "Already between 30,000 and 40,000 employees of the timber companies had lost their jobs as a result of the Reconstruction Levy. Companies like Ashanti Timbers, SBS, RAS and S.E. Amankwaah are not functioning and even with those operating, they are not at full strength", he added. He said the way forward was to go into massive and a more vigorous reforestation.

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