A Principal Planning Officer at the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources (MLNR) has called for stringent measures to make use of legal timber in all public works.
Mr Daniel Nsowah, said there was the need for the government to set a pace in the fight against illegal logging by creating a disincentive for illegal timber on the local market.
He said the use of legal timber for public works had an advantageous implication of increasing revenue from the forest sector and promoting sustainable forest management.
It could also serve as a potent tool to be used to curb illegal logging and its associated trade in the country.
Mr. Nsowah, made the call at a Stakeholder Consultation Workshop on Documents to Present as a Proof of Legal Timber in the Construction of Publicly Funded Works in Kumasi.
The workshop was organised by Nature for Development Foundation (NDF), a non-profit organisation in nature conservation and human development, in collaboration with MLNR, the Forestry Commission (FC) and the Public Procurement Authority (PPA).
It was funded by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the European Union to create platform for the participants to discuss and validate documents to present as a proof of use of legal timber in the construction of public funded works and help them implement the best measures in the timber industry.
Among the major stakeholders that attended the workshop were the Building Contractor Associations and Timber Trade Associations.
Mr. Nsowah said the rate of deforestation caused by chainsaw operators and illegal mining was devastating and stressed the need for a concerted efforts to protect, preserve and regulate the country’s forest for the future generations to rely on.
Mr Francis Ayitey, Chief Operations Officer for Research Policy and Planning (RPP) at Public Procurement Authority (PPA) said there was the need to amend the PPA Act, 2003 (ACT 663) to bring on board other relevant provisions to strengthen the country’s PPA systems to address social and environment needs
The Authority, he said had revised the Standard Tender Documents for good works and Framework Contracts Agreement which were part of the legal Instructions to tenderers.
Mr. Glen Asomaning, Director of Operations at NDF, said legally sourced timber in public tenders would require calls for submission of evidence of both intentions to use legal timber at the bidding stage, and proof of use of legal timber for the execution of works at the payment stage.
By Dorothy Frances Ward, GNA