Ghana losing 100 million Euros per year on timber
According to analysts, Ghana has been losing about 100 million Euros annually over the past two years because her timber products to the European Union (EU) markets have been rejected for not meeting EU standards. Under the standards, only certified and legal timber products are brought into the EU markets.
This is extremely alarming, and losing such a huge amount to the national budget annually is something that should never be allowed to happen. Ghanaian officials should be finding out why the country’s timber is being rejected, and whether those whose timbers were rejected had short-circuited the usual procedure in shipping their timber to European markets.
However, the Ghana government has said that a “Timber Validation Agency” will be created to remove the conflicting interests and ensure that the verification services are handled responsibly.
“Ghana must move fast to assess the legal framework and adopt a working definition of what constitutes legal and certified timber, if we want to see our timber in the EU markets”, said the coordinator of the Validation of Legal Timber Programme (VLTP).
Presently, there is only a semblance of adequate verification, conducted by the Forestry Commission, and which could be described as the Forest Manager, Forest Regulator and Forest Monitor. However, this position is not in the best interest of the timber industry. And that is why the yet to be established Validation Agency, to remove such conflicting interests and ensure that the verification services are handled responsibly, is needed very urgently.
Timber, alongside cocoa and gold are the key lubricants of the Ghanaian economy and everything should really be done to maintain its liquidity.