Ghana loses 6% of GDP through illegal mining and logging

Mr Mike Hamah, Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, has said the country loses six percent of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) through the activities of illegal miners and chainsaw operators.

He said those monies could have been used to provide social amenities in some communities and, therefore, called for concerted efforts from staff of the Forestry Commission and traditional authorities to address the situation.

Mr Hamah said this when he interacted with staff of the Forestry Commission in Koforidua and Akyem Oda on Thursday as part of his two-day tour of the Eastern Region.

He challenged the staff of the Forestry Commission to live up to expectation saying that the rate at which the forest was being depleted was nothing to write home about.

“You have all the regulations but look at how the forest is being depleted,” he stated.

Mr Hamah encouraged them to be bold saying: “Posterity will not forgive us if we allow the natural resources to be depleted.”

“We are holding the natural resources for generations yet unborn, so it is our duty to protect the environment.”

He indicated that the Ministry was determined to enforce all laws to the letter to protect the natural resources.

Mr Hamah expressed worry about how the Birim River, a source of drinking water for many communities, which has been polluted and appealed to the District Assemblies to educate the people to understand the implications of their illegal activities.

At Akyem Oda, Mr Wilson Owusu-Asare, the District Forestry Manager, spoke about efforts being made by his outfit to clamp down on illegal chainsaw operators.

He appealed to the courts to give sifter punishments to illegal chainsaw operators to serve as a deterrent to others.

Mr Hamah later toured the Birim Wood Processing Company at Akyem Oda and commended the management on its afforestation project and also for promoting lesser known species.

Mr Joe Mensah, General Manager of the Company, appealed to the Minister to grant them concession to boost their operations.

Source: GNA

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