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25.02.2006 Business & Finance

Three National Parks earmarked for privatisation

By GNA

Kumasi, Feb. 25, GNA - Professor Dominic Fobih, Minister of Lands, Forestry and Mines, has announced that three national parks have been earmarked for privatisation in the country. They are the Kakum National Park in the Central Region, Mole National Park in the Northern Region and the Shai Hills in the Greater Accra Region.

Professor Fobi made the announcement at a ceremony at the Manhyia Palace in Kumasi on Friday to formally introduce members of the Kumasi Zoo Advisory Board to the Asantehene.

The 14-member Advisory Board of the Zoo has Professor Owusu Addo, as its chairman.

Professor Fobi said a Dutch company from Tanzania had already made a good offer in respect of the Kakum Park, while the Shai Hills "is already under Marina Tours".

The Minister however, failed to mention the extent to which investors have approached the ministry, regarding investments in the Mole Park.

He said even though they were on the way towards privatising the parks, "we are being very careful and cautious, because this is the first time we are doing such a thing"

He regretted that due to its poor state and potentials, the Kumasi Zoo had not received any substantial investment for the past years, while the number of exotic animal species too had reduced drastically. Professor Fobih was worried that, while greater inputs were normally being injected into management of zoos by groups and individuals the world over, zoos in Ghana have to depend solely on subvention.

Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, the Asantehene, in response to a request from the minister, gave the assurance that he would personally intervene to ensure that a lease is given the ministry for the Kumasi zoo site. The Asantehene suggested to government and individuals to channel more funds into supporting development of the zoo in view of the fact that, apart from being an entertainment centre, it also served as an avenue for research and learning.

Professor Addo, chairman of the Board, said the focus of the Board was to raise monies through fundraisings and various activities to support development of the zoo in the areas particularly of drainage improvement, cage restructuring and stocking of the cages with rare species.

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