THE Ghana Timber Millers Organisation (GTMO) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Association of Building and Civil Engineering Contractors of Ghana (ABCECG) for the supply of quality timber products for local projects at concessionary prices.
Under the agreement, in the event of a member of the ABCECG taking a job for the provision of public infrastructure or a private development project within Ghana, the millers will make available quality lumber and other wood products for the execution of the job.
Apart from the partnership facilitating quality work in the construction industry, it will also contribute significantly to reducing the production of illegal chain sawn lumber and its associated trade and use in Ghana.
Speaking at the signing ceremony in Kumasi last Friday, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of GTMO, Mr E.E.K. Acquah-Moses, sad the GTMO was aware that the use of chain sawn lumber for local building projects most often resulted in poor work by contractors.
A number of public and private projects, he said, had suffered from poor work in the hands of some contractors because they tended to rely on cheap wood products from chainsaw operators.
Mr Acquah-Moses expressed the hope that the arrangement would reduce illegal logging and the wanton destruction of immature trees and the consequent degradation of the forest and depletion of timber resources.
He noted that the general improvement in the national economy had brought in its wake increased consumption of wood products.
The CEO noted the contributions the timber industry had made to national development over the years but said the sustainability of the benefits depended wholly on the availability of tree resources.
Mr Acquah-Moses said contrary to the perception in some circles, members of the GTMO were complying with the government’s regulation to sell 20 per cent of their wood products locally, adding that for some products they sold more than 50 per cent on the local market.
He said recent surveys indicated that the current demand for lumber for domestic consumption exceeded 500,000 cubic metres per annum, implying that the 20 per cent they were obliged to put on the market was inadequate.
He noted that against the background that the annual allowable supply of log inputs for processing into lumber and plywood was between 1.5 and two cubic metres, "it means that if the local market is to be serviced completely, there will be no exports".
Mr Acquah-Moses said to address that challenge, the GTMO had adopted some measures, including putting on the local market lumber from wawa, dahoma and ofram species which now constituted about 22 per cent of the standing tree stock and which were required in the housing and construction industry.
The National President of the ABCECG, Mr Kwame Afreh, admitted that a number of construction projects had suffered from the use of poor products purchased from chainsaw operators.
"That is why we approached the GTMO for support to enable us to come out with acceptable works," he noted.
He urged members of the association to take advantage of the partnership to enable them to give their clients quality work.