The newly formed Forest Industries Association of Ghana (FIAG), made up of various trade associations in the forest sector, have inducted a 23-member governing council with a charge to see to reinvigoration of the local timber and wood processing industry.
The association, among other expectations, is hoped to lead advocacy and engagement of policy-makers as well as institute educational programmes for members to ensure self-regulation within the national policy and legal framework.
The president of FIAG, Mr. Richard Duah Nsenkyere, noted that the fundamental flaws identified within the numerous trade associations in the sector – in effectively and efficiently contributing to the formulation and implementation of policies and regulations which affect their business – informed the decision to form FIAG.
He said the processes of establishing a framework that would improve engagement among themselves began some five years ago.
Prior to formation of FIAG, he recounted, there were infightings within the sector, “because of access to the same resource. On the other hand, we were failing to take the opportunity of doing business among ourselves, which led to the use of messages that were counter-productive to our business,” he added.
He said businesses of the different trade associations impact each other – but lack of structures at the time to promote business relations, and no mechanisms to facilitate communication between associations in addressing issues of common interest engagement with policy-makers – were limitations.
The development, he said, led to a lot of policy decisions being taken without any consultation and input from the various associations.
Mr. Duah Nsenkyere charged that it is not only government’s responsibility to ensure an enabling environment for the growth of private sector businesses; the private sector equally has a responsibility to ensure that the right environment is created for development and growth of businesses.
This, he said, underpins the commitment of existing associations to establish this unified front to chart a way of ensuring positive development and growth for the timber and wood processing industry.
“FIAG should have the strength and other resources, working through a well-planned structure, to effectively influence government policies on forest and wood products, and industry development in Ghana.”
He reminded members of the governing council and general membership of FIAG of the task ahead and collective efforts required to succeed in this endeavor.
It is expected that FIAG will also be in the position to ‘viably and proactively’ engage other sectors of the economy as well as government while conveying the collective stance of local industry on issues that affect them.
Members of the governing council, including the President, were sworn into office by His Lordship Justice Frederick Tetteh.
FIAG comprises the Ghana Timber Association (GTA), Ghana Timber Millers Organisation (GTMO), National Association of Handicraft Exporters (NAHE) and Domestic Lumber Millers’ Association of Ghana (DOLMAG).
It also includes Kumasi Wood Cluster Association (KWC), Furniture and Wood Products Association of Ghana (FAWAG), Wood Workers Association of Ghana (WAG), Ghana Sawn Timber Sellers Association (GSTSA), Canoe Carvers Association (CCA) and Domestic Lumber Trade Association (DOLTA).