The Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources has debunked claims that the ministry owes some seedling providers in the country over GH¢2.5 billion under the Green Ghana Projects for the years 2021 and 2022.
Admitting that the ministry was indebted, a Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Benito Owusu-Bio, confirmed the amount to be about GH¢28 million, describing the figure making the rounds as not right.
"Yes, government owes the contractors for 2021 to 2022 and in all, it is GH¢28 million so where from the stated GH¢2.5 billion? Let us report the facts as it is," he explained.
Addressing journalists after leading a delegation to tour and inspect some selected tree planting sites in Accra, the Deputy Minister, stated that the ministry owed some of the contractors but not the stated amount that was being circulated in the media.
He, however, gave the assurance that the government was in talks with the Ministry of Finance to pay off the contractors and settle outstanding debts
The inspection tour was to assess the survival rate and growth of the tree seedlings planted in the year 2021 and 2022 .
The delegation inspected planting sites at the Ghana Geological Survey Authority, the University of Ghana, Legon, the Achimota Forest and the Achimota School all in Accra.
The Deputy Minister stated that the inspection was important and timely as it helped to verify if what was on the grounds reflected what was presented in the report.
The step, he intimated, would also help in adequately planning for this year’s Green Ghana Project scheduled to take off on June 9.
Sharing some of the details of the report on the assessment of the performance of the trees, Mr Owusu Bio said about 72 per cent of seedlings planted in the forest and off forest reserves during the 2022 Green Ghana Project had so far survived.
That, he said, was an improvement of the survival rate for 2021, which recorded 65 per cent.
“Per the report, all seedlings given out in the year 2021 and 2022 were duly distributed and planted in both forest and off forest zones across the country.
“However, in the year 2021, the ministry had recorded a survival rate of 65 per cent of seedlings planted in the forest zones which it blamed on factors such as weather conditions,” the Deputy Minister emphasised.
The Deputy Minister said he was impressed with how the plants were doing in terms of their growth though some did not survive.
He said the ministry was making efforts to ensure that the seedlings to be planted this year would survive notwithstanding the challenges, to help the country reap the benefits of a more green environment which would help in carbon and climate changes.
Mr Owusu- Bio further encouraged individuals and corporate bodies who planted in the previous years to ensure that they nurtured their plants to maturity to increase the survival rate.