Gov’t freezes forestry entry permits for mining purposes

Samuel Abu Jinapor,

Government has directed the Forestry Commission not to issue forest entry permits for mining purposes until further notice.

The directive, according to the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abu Jinapor, forms part of measures to regulate small-scale mining and to reduce adverse effects of the activities on the environment.

“It is needless to point out that a well-regulated, sustainable and environmentally sound small-scale mining has direct impacts on the forest cover of a society. In the interim, government as of Tuesday 23rd March, 2021 has directed the Forestry Commission, except in exceptional circumstances, not to issue forest entry permits for mining purposes until otherwise determined.

“Collectively, and with a determined resolve, we must and will enhance our measures to regulate small-scale mining and eliminate or reduce its adverse consequences on our environment. The House should rest assured that we will discharge this heavy duty with tenacity, honesty and integrity.”

Mr. Jinapor said this in a statement delivered on the Floor of Parliament to commemorate the United Nations International Day of Forests slated for March 21 yearly. The theme for this year’s celebration is ‘Forest Restoration: A path to recovery and wellbeing’.

The day is set aside to create global awareness on the importance of all types of forests and trees outside forest enclaves. Countries are hence encouraged to undertake efforts to organise activities involving tree-planting campaigns in commemoration each year.

The minister urged all to commit themselves to nurturing and preserving existing forests and trees.

He further indicated that since his assumption of office as the sector minister, in accordance with the president’s vision he has initiated a project dubbed ‘The Green Ghana Project’ that will see to the planting of 5 million commercial and other trees in all 16 regions in one day.

“We intend to mobilise the mass of our population to plant trees, nurture them to maturity, and contribute to preservation of our environment. Parliament, political leaders, traditional leaders, corporate Ghana, activists in the green world, leaders of local government, teachers, nurses, informal sector employees and ordinary Ghanaians will be galvanised to contribute their resources, energies and support to make the Green Ghana Project a success, as it will increase significantly the forest cover of our country,” he stated.

In his contribution, MP for Tamale North Constituency, Alhassan Sayibu Suhuyini, called for some special attention to be given to particular trees like rosewoods which are also under threat, as some communities largely depend on them for their income.

He urged authorities to carry out more education involving these communities as to the dangers and effects on the environment from cutting such trees.

“As a country, apart from the threat of losing our forest cover, there are specific trees that are also under threat – like the much talked of rosewood. In the Northern Region today, in most communities, many livelihoods depend on that; forgetting that their lives will also be affected by its non-existence tomorrow.

“And so we need to carry out more education on how we can enforce the laws and ensure that the communities themselves are part of enforcement for the law; and that the communities do not see these law enforcers as people who are against their livelihoods. Through this, we can efficiently enforce the laws and save these trees which are under threats as well as save the environment,” he said.

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