The Governor of Edo State, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has revealed plans to develop a policy document on forestry and set up a Forestry Commission, as part of ongoing reforms to boost economic growth through agriculture.
Obaseki disclosed this when he inaugurated a 16-man Advisory Committee on Forestry at the Government House in Benin City, Edo State capital.
According to him, “In my inaugural address in November 2016, I promised to focus on agriculture to drive socio-economic transformation, as agriculture remains strategic in attaining economic development. This committee will help drive one of the cardinal programmes we have outlined for the agricultural sector.â€
He said, â€œThe Advisory Committee will assist the state government draft a policy document on forestry; advice the government on issues on forestry it plans to put in place, and structure for the forestry commission. This would aid the state government develop effective frameworks in managing its forestry assets in line with international best practices, as its relate to forest reservation, preservation, conservation and regeneration.â€
Obaseki noted that the state government intends to unveil a policy document on forestry at an International Conference to be held in Accra, Ghana, in May 2018, where the state government will showcase how it intends to work with international partners in managing its forest assets.
He said the advisory committee will â€œdevelop a workplan and budget for the forestry commission as well as guidelines for monitoring and implementing its mandate. It will also assist the state government to re-build the forest management and operation plans, and advice government on steps to take.â€
Obaseki said it was regrettable that the stateâ€™s forest resources have been depleted over the years with inevitable consequences, charging the committee to work assiduously to help reverse the unfortunate trend.
“We are determined to set up a framework to safeguard the resources God has endowed us with in terms of our forest assets. As part of the design of the Benin Industrial Park, a section of the park will be built on inputs from the stateâ€™s forestry sector,â€ he said.
The Chairman of the advisory committee, Dr. Felix Idumah, expressed appreciation to the governor for the appointment. He assured that the committee will deliver on its terms of reference in a timely manner.