The Chief Executive (CE) of Forestry Commission (FC), Mr. John Allotey, has admonished staff and management of the Mole National Park and other staff in the Savannah Region, to hold traditional authorities in high esteem. He further advised staff to help observe the traditions and festivals of communities where they work.
The CE emphasised that traditional authorities are the pivot around which every protected area in the country revolves for without their support, illegal operators will invade national parks and reserves and make the work of FC very difficult. He mentioned that the biggest national park in the country, the Mole National Park, which is more than three times bigger than the Greater Accra Region, is found on Gonjaland and this makes FC a tenant in the Region.
He was therefore in Damongo to express the Commission’s condolences to the chiefs and people of Gonjaland, following the death of the Overlord of the Gonja Kingdom, Tuntumba Boresa I. He decided to visit the Dagbon Palace on behalf of the Commissioners, Management and staff of FC to express their hearfelt condolences and also take the opportunity to visit staff in the Region at the Park.
Mr. Allotey praised the departed Overlord for his contributions in diverse ways towards the development of the Mole National Park, especially when the Park wanted to construct an airstrip. He said the people of Damongo and its environs are very peaceful people who have never obstructed the operations of the Mole National Park in any way. It was therefore in place that FC commiserates with them in times of bereavement.
The Chief Executive (CE) made these statements when he, in the company of the Deputy Chief Executive (DCE), Mr. Nyadia Sulemana Nelson; the Executive Director of the Wildlife Division, Mr. Bernard Asamoah Boateng; the Manager for Corporate Affairs & Media Relations, Mrs. Joyce Ofori Kwafo; and Mr. Farouk Umar Dubuire, Operations Manager, Wildlife Division called on the management and staff of the Mole National Park at Damongo in the Savannah Region.
Mr. Allotey thanked staff for being present at the meeting even though the notice was short and commended them for being well dressed as staff of FC. He wished staff a happy new year and assured them that 2023, will be a year of more achievements.
The CE mentioned that there is low female staff population in the Savannah Region and promised to increase it as FC work is no longer a male-dominated one. He made reference to the immediate past Executive Director of the Forest Services Division, Mrs. Edith Abruquah, and urged all the females to aspire to reach such heights.
Mr. Allotey added that staff of the Commission do a lot of work in the regions and districts but it does not get into the limelight. Due to this, a public relations person will be employed in each region to report the success stories of the regions. These persons will be selected and trained before they start work.
He also assured staff that they will be supplied with uniforms before the end of the year.
Making reference to an incident where a poacher shot a staff of the Commission at the Kalakpa Resource Reserve, Mr. Allotey said that, the rising incidences of poaching has necessitated a review of the Operations Manual to reflect current trends.
He also hinted of the revival of mobile training units to help staff of the Parks in their work. There will be two units for the Northern and Southern Zones who will move from park to park to train staff.
Staff went agog with shouts of “ Ahoooya!!!!” when the Chief Executive mentioned that attempts are being made to increase staff salaries. He informed staff that very soon, staff from the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission will go round the various offices of the Commission and speak with them to get a fair idea of what their work entails, and encouraged staff to speak up openly as it will help in the formulation of the new salary structure.
The CE admonished staff to be ready for a change in operations which is profit – driven. He said the Commission’s operations are being negatively impacted by illegal mining and there was therefore the need to focus more on ecotourism as a great tool for income generation. He further informed staff that individuals and private organisations are showing interest in the setting up of zoos and ranches. The Commission is also in the process of setting up three more zoos in Koforidua, Tamale and Cape Coast. This development means there will be the need for staff to monitor and man these establishments. Staff should therefore take advantage of these upcoming opportunites by preparing themselves through self – improvement.
Mr. Allotey reiterated the need to revamp the Wildlife Training School, which can provide accommodation and other facilities for staff use and commercial purposes.
The CE also urged the management of the Mole National Park to institute a programme which will allow some form of staff rotation in the various parks. This he said, will encourage networking and bonding among staff. It will also serve as an eye-opener and a learning platform to staff.
Ending his delivery, Mr. Allotey emphasised on the need for staff to take good care of themselves, promote and protect their family and social lives which are very key in their lives.
The Chief Executive and his team gave staff the opportunity to ask questions, seek clarifications and make suggestion for improvement in the work of the Commission.