The Forestry Commission (FC) has consistently published reports since 2002 on the disbursement of land rents and stumpage revenues from timber contractors to stool chiefs, District Assemblies and traditional councils. Each report covers six months of disbursement; the most recent report released in August 2012 covered the period from 1 January to 30 June 2011. The FC has made commendable efforts to catch up on the timing of these reports over the last couple of years. In addition to hard copies, the last three editions have been released online as pdf documents that are easy to print and facilitate wider distribution and coverage.
Despite this, key stakeholders such as many stool chiefs and District Assemblies have indicated that they have never seen these reports. Communities and civil society groups have not used them to effectively influence local decision making. Furthermore, District Assemblies do not account for how they use the royalties that they receive and there are no guidelines that regulate this expenditure.
As part of the Making the Forest Sector Transparent programme, CIKOD has completed three initiatives to strengthen transparency and governance of revenue disbursement:
• Wassa Amenfi East District have developed and adopted model by-laws, including management of forest revenues, with assistance from New Generation Concern.
• Brong Ahafo Regional House of Chiefs has adopted a Traditional Authority Transparency and Accountability Charter to regulate the use of royalties by traditional authorities.
• Six regions have received additional copies of the most recent disbursement report relevant to their areas. The re-print documents were produced in region-specific versions that are not bulky and provide a reader friendly summary of the amounts disbursed.
While the reporting on disbursement has improved, there are unresolved issues about the amounts due to different stakeholders. The FC retains 50% of stumpage revenues (which constitute the majority of the total) and charges 10% for administration of the funds. Furthermore, the FC is required by law to review stumpage fees every quarter and adjust them to track international prices (approximately 1.8% to 7% of free-on-board prices, depending on species), but they have not changed since 2005. Unofficial FC calculations suggest that current rates are therefore less than 30% of what they should be.
|a. Art 267 (6) of the Constitution of the Republic of Ghana
b. Stumpage / Rent Disbursement Reports
|Forestry Commission and The Office of Administrator of Stool Lands
b. Most recent report for January - June 2011