Member of Parliament for Builsa South Dr Clement Apaak, has alleged that charcoal has become an important commodity, not only as the source of energy in the country but as a raw material for the pharmaceutical industry locally and internationally, making it a smuggled commodity.
According to Dr Apaak, charcoal is highly demanded both locally and externally because its traditional use as the source of fuel for many homes in the country has evolved to the level where they use it as the base material for pharmaceutical products such as toothpaste and medicated charcoal.
Dr Apaak posited that the usual sight of long trucks carting charcoal from the northern part of the country to the southern parts does end up in homes to be used as fuel but is also smuggled out of the country to meet international demands.
He said this is worrying to the country considering the revelations at the recent Conference Of Parties (COP26) in Glasgow, Scotland where there was a resolution to keep the rise in global temperatures below 2c as adopted in 2015 by the United Nations (UN).
Dr Apaak hinted that this international demand that has engendered the smuggling of charcoal is making people cut down more trees to burn them for charcoal, which will end up emitting more carbon into the atmosphere.
“When you see those trucks between Tamale and Kintampo, Kumasi, they are not bringing that charcoal for you and I to go and prepare tea, the charcoal is being smuggled out of the country. Once charcoal has gained another use and it is a product of timber, you know what is going to happen,” Dr Apaak portended on the New Day.
He disclosed this in an interview with Johnnie Hughes on the New Day on TV3, Wednesday, November 17.
On the budget reading by the Minister of Finance Ken Ofori-Atta on the floor of parliament on Wednesday, November 17, Dr Apaak said his expectations will be that of the people, especially the people in his constituency whom he represents.
Dr Apaak pointed out that the citizenry are not enthused about the budget anymore based on what they have witnessed in past budgets, saying the indices in the build up towards the budget does not give hope that it is going to ameliorate the hardships of Ghanaians.
“Some of the issues people are talking about, my constituents, Ghanaians have to do with the increase in fuel prices and how that affects other aspects of human, social endeavors. You and I know that once it affects fuel prices, it affects transport prices, it is bound to affect food prices and almost every other service around that,” he said.
He wondered if the 2022 budget is going to bring some relief to the people by taking away the many taxes that are embedded to push the cost of fuel to a reduced rate?
Dr Apaak inquired if government is going to present the nation with a budget policy that is going to address the increasing cost of building materials in the country.
He was speaking on the horn of the budget reading by the Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta in parliament on Wednesday, November 17.