Ghana lost $16 million of stumpage value of timber between 2003 and 2013 due to the Forestry Commission’s inability to review and come up with new fees during the period.
This was contained in a study conducted by Forest Watch Ghana (FWG), which comprises more than 40 Civil Society Organizations (CSOs).
The report said the stumpage fee, which is the price a private firm pays for the right to harvest timber from a given land base, was reviewed on March 1, 2014.
The fee is expected to be reviewed quarterly to reflect prevailing economic conditions on both the local and international markets.
Gene Birikorang of Hamilton Resources and Consulting plc, who authored the study, said the amount lost by the forest sector through stumpage fees was amounted to about four times the potential contribution of the timber industry to forest communities’ welfare under Social Responsibility Agreements.
He said from 2003-2012, the Commission did not comply with legislative instrument (LI) 1649’s requirement that stumpage fees be determined partly in relation to the free-on-board price of air-dried lumber.
Birikorang said that huge amount of money was lost because the annual potential loss was allowed to increase progressively over the period.
He added that ‘it was also observed that 80 percent of the loss did not only come from failure to adjust to free-on-board price but inflation too.’
The study called for the repositioning of the Timber Industry Development Division (TIDD) of the FC.
It therefore called on the Ministry for Natural Resources, Lands and Forestry to recognize CSOs as FC’s partners in policy implementation and provide support for building its capacity.
By Cephas Larbi
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