The Ghana Maritime Authority says it gifted over eight thousand pieces of harvested tree stumps to some communities along the Volta Lake as part of its corporate social responsibility because it did not make economic sense to sell them.
The harvested wood which is known to have been submerged in the lake for more than 50 years is considered one of the most expensive and highly sought after in the wood processing industry.
But the Director-General of the Ghana Maritime Authority Mr. Thomas Kofi Alonsi briefing the media at an event organized by the Ministry of Transportation in Ada stated that upon a cost-benefit analysis it would have cost the GMA more money to cart the trees from where they were harvested for sale, hence decided to give it out for free.
“…We were not going to saddle ourselves with getting ourselves involved in the export of timber. Besides, I don’t think there was anything wrong with giving back to society to satisfy their needs. We did our analysis and we thought that having to cart the tree stumps from where they were to the nearest point where we could start talking about selling them it was going to add an additional cost t whatever we invested into harvesting of the tree and we thought that it didn’t make economic sense as far as we are concerned.”
He added: “And even before we started giving them out the communities were stealing the wood because we don’t have any staff there to be watching over them.”
Mr. Thomas Alonsi noted that the main objective of the GMA in uprooting the tree stumps is to clear the navigation routes for safe transportation on the Volta Lake.
The GMA is mandated to ensure the safety of navigation both at sea and inland waterways.
In an effort to perform this mandate, the GMA contracted Kete Krachi Timber Recovery Ltd (KKTR) to harvest the tree stumps to make the lake navigable and curb rampant boat accidents along the channel crossings between Yeji- Makango and Yeji-Awujakope.
Beneficiary communities include Yeji, Awidzakope Awuja-kope in the Bono East region and Makango in the Savanna region.
The harvested tree stumps are said to be valued at millions of Ghana Cedis.
Boat accidents on the lake claimed thirty-one (31) lives in 2016, with a total of one hundred and thirty-five reported cases of injury. A total of thirteen (13) passengers died leaving twenty-six (26) people with various degrees of injuries in 2017.
Two boat accidents were recorded in 2018 which saw eleven deaths and leaving fifty-three (53) injured. With the removal of the tree stumps, the GMA is on the verge of proclaiming a –zero-boat-accident on the lake.
Meanwhile, the Ghana Maritime Authority has procured two boats to boost monitoring of activities on the Volta Lake to make it more safer.