Lift ban on chainsaw operation – Timber merchant appeals to President

President John Mahama
President John Mahama

A timber merchant in the  Brong-Ahafo Region has appealed to President John Dramani Mahama to personally intervene to lift the ban on chainsaw operation to improve on national revenue.

Mr Kofi Vinyo, Managing Director of Kofi Vinyo Company Limited, a timber firm at Kwatire in the Sunyani West District noted that, though the ban was still in force, chainsaw operators continued with their activities as the public demand for sawn timber was very high.

Speaking to the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in an interview at Kwatire on Tuesday, Mr Vinyo said Ghana loses billions of Ghana Cedis annually due to chainsaw operations.

He emphasised that it would however, be appropriate if government legalised and regularised chainsaw operations by providing operators with specific concessions for them to undertake their activities under strict monitoring by relevant authorities.

Mr Vinyo said by so doing, operators would pay their taxes to increase national revenue generation.

He noted that the establishment of the forestry taskforce to control chainsaw activities in the country’s forests was not necessary as chainsaw operators undertake their activities at night to outwit them.

Mr Vinyo said because of the ban, operators armed themselves with guns and other offensive weapons and sometimes engaged in shoot outs with the taskforce who patrolled the fringes of the forest reserves in the country.

The Timber Merchant alleged that, unfortunately, when the taskforce arrest and impound sawn lumber from chainsaw operators, they sell the product at the various timber markets.

Mr Vinyo further alleged that some officials of the Forestry Service Division also condoned and connived with chainsaw operators and provided them with information on the movements of the taskforce and also guided them to enter forest reserves to undertake their activities.

He noted that chainsaw operators provided 95 percent of sawn lumber for the domestic market because timber companies had failed to provide their mandated quota to feed the local market.

Mr Vinyo explained that because of the scarcity of lumber, timber companies sell the product at exorbitant prices making consumers to solely depend on chainsaw operators for lumber.

Source: GNA

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