Mr Samuel Afari Dartey, Chief Executive Officer of Forestry Commission said the Commission has within the last three quarters generated a total amount of GHc14.2 million as against a budgeted revenue of GHc 9.1million.
Mr Dartey attributed the increase to initiatives put in place by management for heads of the divisions and units to improve their revenue mobilization, and find alternative sources of revenue since it would be a factor in appraising them.
He said this at the end of year encounter with staff of the Commission to brief them about the reports for the year 2013.
Mr Dartey said the Commission recruited 487 forest guards to augment the existing number of forest guards and the appointment of Dr Ben Donkor as the new Executive Director of Timber Industry Development Division.
He said the Commission had paid an amount of GHc 2,900,000 of educational grant to staff, and GHc 630,710.48 to 138 beneficiaries who retired from the Commission and established a credit union scheme to support staff financially to meet their various demands.
Mr Dartey stressed that under the institutional capacity development, 48 staff are being sponsored by the Commission’s training programme at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology and the University of Energy and Natural Resources to pursue BSC in Natural Resource Management.
He added that two staff were sponsored under the Commission’s self-initiated training programme to pursue courses in other tertiary institutions and 28 staff trained in forest and wildlife laws to become Forestry Commission prosecutors.
Mr Dartey said in the plantation development, the Commission had verified 2,835 HA as planted representing 95 per cent of the 2013 target and also contributed to the creation of 2,167 jobs.
He said the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources on May 21, 2013 inaugurated a six-member Accra Eco-Park Strategy Development Committee to develop a road-map and modalities for the development of the Achimota Forest into a major Ecotourism destination.
Mr Dartey said the Rapid Response Team of the Commission were deployed in districts such as Sefwi-Wiaso, Bole, Kumawu, Buipe and Nkwanta for special operations and additional 100 forest guards trained to combat illegalities in forest reserves.
He said the Commission will in 2014 focus on programmes such as human capital development training and refresher programmes, sustainable forest management and plantation development, and protection and sustainable utilization of wildlife resources.
Mr Dartey said other areas include timber industry, trade development and technology transfer, planning and standards development and coordination and facilitation of forest and wildlife development and management. GNA