Forest and wood based industries agree to a unified front
Players within the timber and wood industry, one time a budding sector of the local economy, have consented to form a unified front as part of efforts to push for the development and growth of the industry.
This is premised on the basis that forest and wood based industries in Ghana, which operate at four levels namely: primary, secondary and tertiary processing,are all faced with several factors that have over the years limited the expected growth of the various businesses.
Most of these factors, which has impeded the progress of the industry over the years, at large cannot be addressed by individual companies, but mainly through business associations working in partnership with the government.
In this respect,“It is only the trade and business associations that can establish the platform for dialogue on the various issues impacting on the growth of the business,” Chief Executive of the Ghana Timber and Millers Organisation (GTMO), Dr. Kwame Asamoah, noted.
He explained that “In most instances, it could be seen that these trade and business associations are not well resourced or do not have effective setups, example ill equipped secretariat, less motivated staff, inadequate funding to run programmes and projects, among others.”
“Due to this handicap, most business companies do not appreciate the potential roles and values of the business associations in addressing most of their business problems.”
At present, there are about ten identifiable trade and business associations in the forest sector whose activities impacts each other.
However, there are no structures to promote business relations and no mechanisms to facilitate communications between associations in addressing issues of common interest.
According to Dr. Asamoah, engagements with policy makers are so limited that a lot of government policies are done without the associations’ consultation and input.
Against this backdrop, the current thinking among many company executives is that all the existing associations should be brought together to form a unified front to chart the way forward in ensuring positive development and growth in the timber and wood industry.
The emphasis is that there is the need to establish a strong and unified front working through a good plan structure that can effectively influence government policies on forest and wood industry developments in Ghana.
To this end, representatives of the ten associations have been meeting to develop a framework that will enhance the unification.
At this meeting, in Kumasi, the various associations re-affirmed their commitment to the establishment of such a unified front, and in the meantime agreed to work towards the creation of a federation.
It is the expectation that the Federation will contribute to the development of workable national policies and programmes that will ensure accelerate and sustainable growth of the forest and wood based industries for maximum contribution to the social and economic development of Ghana.
A twelve-member technical committee was appointed, at the meeting, to work out all the necessary structures needed to form and run the Federation,with representation from almost all the various sub-sectors of the forest and wood industry. It has been given three months time frame to finish its work.