Some wood dealers in the Tema area in the Greater Accra Region have accused officials of the Forestry Commission of extorting monies from them.
According to the dealers, these officials engage in various forms of extortion, a situation they say is taking a significant toll on the wood industry.
They claim the officials have devised means by which they illegally surcharge them as well as seize and divert legally acquired lumber from the forest.
The Chairman of the Timber Market Wood Dealers Association, Anthony ParteyAsare said “the same commission will give you a permit to convey lumber from anywhere to Accra, and when you get to Accra, the same Commission will seize the wood.You will later be asked to pay between 8,000 and 10,000.
“Instead of giving the wood after we have paid, they will discharge about 40,000 worth of lumber from the wood, and then they ask you to take the rest away. We see that as naked robbery.”
Mr. Anthony ParteyAsare also said the Association is contemplating importinglumber from Liberia since the lumber from Ghana’s forests are fast losing their quality.
He told Citi News that “we as wood sellers in the country have traveled to other countries around our sub region to see if we can get access to import quality lumber because the quality we have here is not the best. We found our way to Liberia and when we got there, we saw that the quality we want is there.”
He said the Association again traveled to South America and is looking at importing lumber from some countries there to serve the Ghanaian market and also add value for export.
“For now, we are looking at importing quality lumber from Liberia to serve the local market and also add value to it for the international market.”
Mr. ParteyAsare said “we are only appealing to government to waive tax on the importation so that we can import in the short-term so that in the future, the forest can recover and produce for us the quality of timber needed for our construction works. The forest is a renewable resource and when given some time, it can recover.”