The Sunyani Wood Sellers Association (SWSA) has called for the establishment of a timber market in the Sunyani Municipality.
It said the market, to be provided with electricity, access roads, water and facilities for sanitation, would not only create the desired environment for the wood industry but would also facilitate monitoring and revenue mobilisation.
The association made the call at a stakeholders’ seminar organised with the assistance of the Business Sector Advocacy Challenge (BUSAC) Fund in Sunyani.
It was attended by representatives from the Sunyani Municipal Assembly, Town and Country Planning Department, Brong Ahafo Regional Lands Commission and traditional rulers.
Mr David Yeboah, treasurer of the association, emphasised the inter-play of public-private partnership for economic development and appealed to the government to create an enabling business environment to promote and encourage investments.
He said the private sector must in addition respond favourably to the creation of goods and services that would satisfy consumer needs, thereby creating wealth and jobs and paying taxes to government.
Mr Yeboah reminded municipal and district assemblies of their responsibilities to initiate programmes for the development of basic infrastructure and provision of goods and services in the communities.
He said although their efforts to acquire land from the Sunyani, Dormaa and Odumase Number One traditional councils, as well as the Sunyani Municipal Assembly and the Lands Commission for a wood market had proved futile, it had been able to acquire a piece of land at Abesim for a wood market.
Mr Yeboah said although decision makers were concerned with policy issues, their involvement in the physical planning process was also essential.
He explained that the provision of infrastructure such as roads, water, lorry stations and markets played a significant role in enabling businesses and commercial activities to grow and develop.
Mr Yeboah expressed concern that members of the association were mostly squatters at isolated locations in the municipality and, therefore, apart from not being visible and not easily accessible to buyers, members faced frequent ejections and relocations that had resulted in low business rate and high business cost.
The BUSAC Fund Service Provider for SWSA, Mr Wiredu Iddris, explained that the wood industry engaged some people in the municipality who worked to cater for themselves and their families.
He said commercial activities among wood sellers in the municipality over the last three years had increased at five per cent annually.
Mr Iddris said though an average of 250,000 cubic metres of wood were sold annually, the wood industry in the municipality could perform more efficiently to meet the growing demands of estate developers and other wood users.
He added that he was optimistic that a more organised market for wood sellers in the municipality would enhance the commercial activities of the industry, create wealth and increase government revenue.
The Akwamuhene of Sunyani Traditional Council, Nana Kwaku Sabeng II, lauded the idea of a timber market as that would help the assembly to collect taxes from the sellers.
The Chairman of the wood sellers association, Mr Charles Amoako, said 120 members were working to provide services for stakeholders in the industry. He added that the association was a job reservoir, creating wealth, generating income and paying taxes to government