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The Deputy Minister for Lands and Natural Resources , Benito Owusu-Bio, embarked on a fact finding mission on Thursday, December 23, 2021 to the Volta lake to ascertain the verity of a petition submitted to the Ministry by Kete Krachi Timber Recovery about some alleged rosewood discovered beneath the Volta lake.
The Deputy Minister indicated that the petition received from the timber company reveals that in the cause of salvaging tree stamps submerged under the Volta lake, the recovery company has come across rosewood which estimates about 500 cubic meters per week.
Speaking after a fact-finding visit to the place, Mr Owusu- Bio noted that he will submit a report to the Minister, Samuel A. Jinapor on the new development and hold discussions with relevant stakeholders and also, consider the request presented to them.
He added that currently there is a ban on the exportation of rosewoods and government does not intend to lift the ban anytime soon. He said government will in consultation with the company that nurtured the trees consider a number of possibilities with sale to the National Cathedral being one of them.
Mr Owusu-Bio will not rule out the commercialisation of the woods especially with the company being a private entity but assured Ghanaians that a decision that suits the interest of all parties will be reached.
He said: “The ban has been enforced to the letter and we don’t see trucks moving from the North to the South. We’ll look at it and if we have to lift it for a specific amount to be exported then we will look at the circumstances around it.
“We never imagined that rosewoods will be discovered here so when we got the petition, we wrote to the Forestry Commission to assess the viability of the claims.
“They are requesting that we grant them permission to export the rosewoods and we are going to consider it. We said that we are going to give the rosewoods we seize to the National Cathedral. They are also in that business as well. We are going to report to our Minister, Samuel A. Jinapor and we will see how we can help them defray the cost of the work they have done here.”
Elking Pianim, the CEO of Ketekrachi Timber Recovery explained why they petitioned the Ministry saying “we wrote a letter seeking permission to export rosewoods.
“We need to monetize every tree that we bring. Our salvaging has not affected the environment in anyway. No living tree was felled in the process. That is why we need an exemption.“
He added that aside the rosewoods, other wood species discovered under the Volta lake are ebony, ofram and other unidentified woods.
Many of these Mr. Pianim said they transform into charcoal and firewood for sale to the local people and also for export across the world.
The Kete Krachie Timber Recovery is a licensed timber recovery company in the Volta Region with a license to salvage trees submerged in the volta lake and help mitigate the hazards on the lake.
The company provides over 100 direct jobs and 100 indirect jobs locally and it’s concessions contract runs till 2035.