Savanna Regional Minister orders closure of Chinese timber firm
The Savanna Regional Minister, Mr Salifu Adam Braimah, has ordered the immediate closure of Brivywells Company, a Chinese timber firm at Yipala, a farming community near Damongo.
The company was engaged in the logging and processing of rosewood for export to China for about three years.
Mr Braimah ordered the closure during a tour of some logging-prone areas in the Savannah Region last Thursday.
Workers of the company ran away before the minister and his entourage arrived at the site.
Speaking to the media, Mr Braimah expressed his disappointment at the harvesting of rosewood in the region and indicated that Brivywells had operated on the blind side of stakeholders in the area.
Ghana News Headlines
For latest news in Ghana, visit Graphic Online news headlines page Ghana news page
Shocked at the number of logs at the site, he said it hurt to see residents of the community living in poverty, while other people made huge sums of money illegally and at the same time made the environment highly unfriendly.
Meanwhile, the regional minister has inaugurated a nine-member committee to investigate factors that militate against efforts made so far to eliminate illegal logging.
The committee, which has the Deputy Regional Minister, Mr Samuel Yayu Tika, as Chairman, is expected to make appropriate recommendations to the regional minister.
Other members of the committee are the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament (MP) for Bole/Bamboi, Mr Sulemana Yusuf; a former Chairman of the Lands Commission, Alhaji Sadique Bakari Nyare; a former District Chief Executive (DCE) for Sawla-Tuna-Kalba, Habibu Muftawu; a media expert, and Chief Kpengrewura Karimu.
The regional minister admitted that the task was challenging but promised the committee of his unflinching support.
Speaking on behalf of the committee, Alhaji Nyare said before the creation of the region, he, in 2014, had solely commissioned a private individual to go into logging activities in the area and produce a document to see the way forward in ending those activities.
He pleaded with traditional authorities in the region to cooperate with the committee to enable it to discharge its mandate for the benefit of the region.
He assured the regional minister, on behalf of the committee, that it would do everything possible to address the canker of logging, especially when the minister had assured the committee of the necessary support it required to deliver.
In March this year, the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources placed a ban on the harvesting and exporting of rosewood in the country.
The ministry directed the Forestry Commission to suspend the processing of permits for the exportation of rosewood.
However, currently, some companies are said to be exporting rosewood using expired licences, while others have no permit at all.
Rosewood, botanically known as Pterocarpus erinaceus, is one of the tree species found in the middle and the northern part of the country listed by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) as endangered species.
It is used mainly for the production of very expensive furniture for the elite class in Asia.
Besides, it is used for making chess pieces and parts of other creative and musical instruments and as such it is very highly prized in Asian countries, particularly China.
China alone imports close to 96 per cent of all rosewood lumber harvested in Ghana.
The tree takes between 50 and 100 years to mature.