Passage of Wildlife Bill in the offing

By
Dennis Peprah, GNA   

Bechem (B/A), Aug. 20, GNA – The
Parliamentary Select Committee on Lands and Forestry is to put before
Parliament the Wildlife Resource Management Bill, immediately the House
reconvenes in September for its passage.

The passage of the Bill, according to the
Committee, is urgently needed as it would help to facilitate proper maintenance
of national forest reserves and control illegal logging and annual bushfires.

Alhaji Amadu Seidu, Member of Parliament for
Yapei/Kusawgu and the Chairman of the Committee, said this when the Committee
undertook a field visit to the Bosomkese and Aparapi forest reserves at Bechem
in the Tano South District of the Brong-Ahafo Region.

Wild fire swept through the two reserves and
destroyed several tree species early this year.

Reacting to a complaint about attacks on
forest guards in the area, Alhaji Seidu said provision have been made in the
Bill to empower forest guards to use firearms in the course of their duties.

Mr Thomas Okyere, the Brong-Ahafo Regional
Manager of the Forestry Commission, had earlier expressed worry about the
repetitive attacks on forest guards orchestrated by illegal loggers in the Region.

Mr Benito Owusu-Bio, the MP for
Atwima-Nkwabiagya North, and a ranking member of the committee, said a clear
policy direction was required for the proper maintenance of forest reserves.

He said there is the need for the country to
invest part of its oil revenue into forest management, saying proper management
of the forest could fetch the country millions of dollars annually.

Mr Owusu-Bio said forest resources fetched
Sweden 10 billion Euros annually, stressing that Ghana has comparative
advantage than Sweden and there was the need for the government to pay
particular attention to afforestation.

Mr Nicholas Awuku, the Bechem Forest
District Manager, expressed concern about inadequate funding and technical
staff saying the office has only two technical officers and 12 forest guards.

GNA

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