Accra, Jan.14, GNA – Mr Benito Owusu-Bio, a Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources in charge of Forestry, has highly commended the staff of the Sefwi Wiawso Forestry Commission for working to control forest related illegal activities in the district.
He gave the commendation at a staff durbar with the Sefwi-Wiawso Forestry Commission during a fact-finding trip to some forest reserves in the Sefwi Wiawso District of the Western North Region.
Mr Owusu-Bio said: "I am highly impressed with the work that you have done here so far especially under such challenging conditions".
He added that witnessing the situation for himself had made him appreciate seriousness of the challenges and would report to the sector Minister to take stringent actions to curb the situation.
The Deputy Minister, however, expressed worry over how the illegal operators managed to transport wood out from the region without being accosted, saying that if there are any officers aiding those operators to perpetuate illegalities investigations would soon commence to expose them.
He, therefore, charged the forestry officers to be patriotic and work harder to halt illegal transportation of lumbers.
Touching on the staff welfare, Mr Owusu-Bio stated that the government was aware of the concerns expressed by workers and putting measures in place to ensure that their concerns were addressed.
"We have actually already started working on your welfare issues. Sector Minister has been here and you will hear good news in the coming months," he assured.
He reminded the staff of the Ministry’s plans to plant 20 million trees during the 2022 Green Ghana exercise.
As the key stakeholders in forest management, Owusu-Bio urged the staff of the Commission to prepare their minds and to work harder to preserve the country's forest resources.
"As the main stakeholders of Green Ghana, we are here to whip up your support and commitment towards the exercise this year.
"We will have to deliver and we will need your support to make this happen," he advised them.
On his part, the Chairman of the Forestry Commission Board, Tetrete Okuamoah Sekyim II, also the Paramount Chief of the Wassa Amenfi Traditional Area lauded the Sefwi Wiawso Forestry officials for the yeoman's job done so far.
He added that the Board would hold a meeting and strategize workable solutions towards resolving the challenges in the forestry sector.
Tetrete Okuamoah assured the staff that upon seeing the dangerous circumstances under which they worked, he was going to ensure their safety to deliver on their mandate.
Mr. John Allotey, the Chief Executive Officer of the Forestry Commission, outlined detailed plans by the Commission to safeguard their welfare and safety.
He said they were putting together measures to train more guards on the usage of some equipment and weapons to improve on their work.
The Commission, he said, had procured some laptops, desktops and about 1,000 weapons, which would soon be given them to beef up their work.