The Sunyani Wood Sellers Association (SWSA) has called for the establishment of a timber market in the Sunyani Municipality.
It said the market, to be provided with needed infrastructure electricity, access roads, water and facilities for sanitation, would not only establish the desired environment for the wood industry but would also facilitate monitoring and revenue mobilisation.
The association made the call at a stakeholders’ seminar organised with the assistance of the Business Sector Advocacy Challenge (BUSAC) Fund in Sunyani.
It was attended by representatives from the Sunyani Municipal Assembly, Town and Country Planning Department, Brong-Ahafo Regional Lands Commission and traditional rulers.
Mr David Yeboah, Treasurer of the association, emphasised the inter-play of public-private partnership for economic development and appealed to the government to create an enabling business environment to promote and encourage investments.
He said in addition, the private sector must respond favourably to the creation of goods and services that would satisfy consumer needs, thereby creating wealth and jobs and paying taxes to government.
Mr Yeboah reminded Municipal and District Assemblies of their responsibilities to initiate programmes for the development of basic infrastructure and providing goods and services in the communities.
He said although their efforts to acquire land from the Sunyani, Dormaa and Odumase Number One Traditional Councils as well as the Sunyani Municipal Assembly and the Lands Commission for a wood market had proved futile however, it had been able to acquire a piece of land at Abesim for a wood market.
Mr Yeboah said although decision makers were concerned with policy issues their involvement in the physical planning process was also essential.
He explained that provision of infrastructure such as roads, water, lorry stations and markets played significant role in enabling businesses and commercial activities to grow and develop.
Mr Yeboah expressed concern that members of the association were mostly squatters at isolated pockets of locations in the Municipality therefore, apart from not being visible and not easily accessible to buyers, members faced frequent ejections and relocations that had resulted in low business rate and high business cost.
Mr Wiredu Iddris, BUSAC Fund Service Provider for SWSA, explained that the wood industry engaged some people in the municipality who worked to cater for themselves and their families.
He said the level of commercial activities among wood sellers in the municipality over the last three years had increased at five per cent annually.
Mr Iddris said though an average of 250,000 cubic metres of wood are sold annually the wood industry in the municipality could perform more efficiently to meet the growing demands of estate developers and other wood users.
He said he was optimistic that a more organised market for wood sellers in the municipality would enhance the commercial activities of the industry, wealth creation and increase government revenue.
Nana Kwaku Sabeng II, Akwamuhene of Sunyani Traditional Council, lauded the idea of the timber market as that would help the assembly to collect taxes from the sellers.
Mr Charles Amoako, Chairman of the association, said it had 120 members working to provide services to stakeholders in the industry, estate developers and a job reservoir, creating wealth, generating income and paying taxes to government.