Sunyani, Sept 28, GNA - Mr Kwasi Annan-Frimpong, the Sunyani Municipal Director of National Disaster Management Organisation, has appealed to traditional authorities in Brong-Ahafo to be transparent in the utilization of royalties from stool and traditional council lands to promote peace.
He expressed concern about the youth who to attack traditional rulers in some communities in the region over alleged misappropriation of royalties.
Mr Annan-Frimpong was addressing some traditional rulers at a workshop organised by the Sunyani Forest Forum at Sunyani on Tuesday. The one-day workshop, sponsored by Civil Society Strengthening Facility (CSF) was aimed at advocating for practical system of transparency in the disbursement and utilization of timber royalties from the Forestry Commission.
Mr Francis Bawuah, the District Manager of the Forestry Services Division, said in disbursing royalties the government receives 60 percent while the traditional authorities are given 40 percent.
Mr Bawuah said calculations of the stumpage were based on every tree legally felled.
"Trees felled illegally by contractors or chainsaw operators deprive the state, district assemblies, stool lands and traditional councils of revenue needed for national development", Nana Bosoma Asor Nkrawiri II, Omanhene of Sunyani Traditional Area, expressed concern about the alarming rate at which forests were being depleted through wildfires and illegal activities and called for concrete measures to check it.
He said the surest way to achieve sustainable forest management was the sharing of benefits from the forests equitably and in a more transparent way for communities.
"When forest benefits such as royalties are shared and utilized in a more transparent manner, it will enhance effective community participation in the management of the forest resources." Nana Twum Barimah, Gyaasehene of Wenchi Traditional Area, appealed to the government to resource the Forestry Div ision with adequate logistics to perform its duties effectively.
Nana Baah Brentu, Akyeamehene of Awuah-Domase, urged the Sunyani Municipal Assembly to help establish forest mills at vantage points in the municipality to help deprived communities to purchase forest products rather than travelling to the urban centres for them. Many of the participants suggested that chainsaw operations should be legalised to make timber products more accessible to the ordinary Ghanaian.