Parliamentary Committee intervenes in Sokoban Wood Village/FSD impasse

Kumasi- The Parliamentary Select Committee on lands and Natural Resources, has called for calm amongst wood workers and traders at the Sokoban Wood Village enclave, as it worked to resolve the impasse between them and the Forestry Services Division (FSD) of the Forestry Commission.

Mr Francis Manu-Adabor, Chairman of the Committee, said they were working to resolve the issues and address their concerns.

Addressing an emergency meeting of the Wood Village Workers Association in Kumasi, he entreated them not to resort to any form of violent conduct or demonstrations likely to create tension in the enclave.

The woodworkers and traders of wood products at the enclave have since last week staged series of protests to register their displeasure over what they claim to be unwarranted harassment and seizure of their products by the officials of FSD.

They argued that the development was affecting the local wood market, and a breach of laid-down regulations contained in the European Union (EU)-Ghana Voluntary Partnership (VPA) Agreement, which enjoined the government to ensure that at least 20 per cent of certified sawn timber was supplied to the local market.

The Ghana News Agency has gathered that the basis for the FSD’s actions was borne out of the suspicion that majority of the woodworkers and traders acquired the timber supplies from illegal sources.

The FSD working in concert with the Timber Industry Development Division has, therefore, refused to issue permits to the woodworkers and traders making it difficult for them to transport lumber and other wood products from the enclave.

Mr Manu-Adabor urged the workers to remain calm and go about their normal duties as the Committee worked to resolve the standoff between the two parties.

Nana Saforo Koto, Spokesperson for the Association, said the actions of the FSD was likely to collapse the wood industry if care was not taken.

We have many finished wood products packed in our shelves, and waiting to be transported to customers, but this cannot be done due to the FSD’s actions, he lamented.

He called for pragmatic policies that would work to ensure adequate supply of wood products on the local market.

Mr Raphael Samaglo, an Executive-Member of the Association, said life had become unbearable for the workers since the FSD commenced its illegal seizure of their products and called immediate solution of the impasse.

Source: Ghana News Agency