Achimota Forest to be made world class ecotourism hub in 2012

Achimota Forest will be adjusted to a world class tourism enclave without destroying the ecosystem but attempts to construct a road through it will nose-dive this objective, Mr Samuel Afari Dartey, Acting Chief Executive of the Forestry Commission has said.

Mr Dartey told the Public Accounts Committee when he appeared before it that the two-year programme, which had already started, would include nature walk in which tourists walking round would see animals in their natural habitat as they trek.

“There will be museums, eco-lodges, picnic sides, safari drives, animal introduction, arboretum for the purpose of research and many attractions that could generate a lot of income much more than the $60,000 currently generated annually,” he said.

He said however, that the road passing through the forest could badly affect not only the programme but the environment.

“Achimota Forest is the only green belt in Accra that absorbs the pollutions from the combustive motor cars and the only wind break in the city,” he said.

Mr Dartey said since those praying in the forest do not pose any threat to the forest, religious groups could be allowed to pray in the forest but must observe certain rules that would guide their activities.

The committee was stern on the management of the Forestry Commission and said it should do everything in its power to wind-up the Ghana Timber Supplies Limited that has been dormant since 2003 but continues to incur administrative, accounting and auditing costs.

The company, according to the Auditor General’s report, was a subsidiary company that was incorporated in England and Wales on the January 18, 1994 with registration number 2888798.

Mr Mike Asaam, Acting Director of Finance of the Forestry Commission, said the winding-up procedure had already begun and would soon be completed to save the state from incurring unnecessary cost.

The PAC during the turn of Mineral Marketing Company Limited (PMMC) charged its management to retrieve an ¢4,680,512,018 Sian Goldfields owed the company.

Sian Goldfield went into an agreement to supply PMMC with some precious metals which PMMC pre-financed but the commodity could not deliver making Sian Goldfields indebted to PMMC.

Mr Bernard Anang, Chief Finance Officer of Precious assured PAC that everything would be done to have the money retrieved.

Mr Ben Aryee, CEO of the Mineral Commission, said though mining could degrade the environment the benefits that mining communities derived outweigh the losses but added that there must be some improvement on the social responsibilities of the mining companies.

He said all royalties that accrued from mining activities went to the government and that 10 per cent of the amount was given to the Stool Lands Commission and 55 per cent allocated to district assembly.

Source: GNA

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