Parliament has now passed the Timber Resources Management and Legality Licensing Regulation of 2017, LI 2254. This new LI addresses key issues that forest stakeholders have raised through the VPA process, and makes the necessary changes to Ghana’s legal framework to meet the terms of the VPA.The new law clarifies the granting of special permits, which civil society groups had contended was discretionary and undermined transparency and accountability. It requires existing special permits to be converted into Timber Utilisation Contracts (TUCs).
The law also addresses the longstanding need to convert into TUCs the extant leases that expired when the Timber Resources Management Act 1998 came into force. The Act required conversion and the payment of timber rights fees by the holders, but this could not happen.The new law makes provision for a one-off payment of the timber rights fee — rather than an annual payment — and requires that the lease holder apply for conversion process within six months of the passing of the law. It also introduces small-scale TUCs for the first time, among others.