Ahmed Iddrisu | Production Manager, Crucible New York
Hello everyone, I went through this problem when I was in the North, I went there to do my business but when I was there and problems also came in. That was a year ago, and I was in a different business before so later I decided to join the timber business because I thought it was going to help me in some ways. I started cutting the timber after I joined the company. I will say it was a company because there were a lot of buyers from China, most of them from China, and just a few people from India. So those are who are buying the timber, shipping to China and India. But my business partners were Chinese mostly.
And so I started to cut the timber from the bush, I got my first container. Each container is taking from 70–110 pieces to make a full container. So I cut my first timber from the bush and I used the tractor to dump them and a car to bring them to the yard. Then after that you use the Wood-Mizer to cut the timber and make it square so that you can load it into the container to look nice. I did all of those things and I sold my first container, it was good, and so I decided to move on and then I got the second one, third. I was on the seventh container, after I load four containers already. So the seven containers, if I load the three containers and add to the four before it will make seven.
So after the three containers, something happened. The Ghanaian government was now putting a ban on the timber just because they found that the Chinese who are here in Ghana buying the timber, they don’t have any proper documents. So they are just shipping the timber to China, but if there is anything like paying tax or whatever, it’s hard to trace them because they don’t have any proper documents. That was the case. So the government decided to ban the timber, no one will bring the timber to China anymore, unless you want to do that you have to come to China and make the proper documents before you can ship those timber to China.
It’s not like any wood, it’s one particular wood that they choose. And they are cutting that wood, we call it rose wood. I don’t know if everyone knows that wood. So after I bring my three containers to the yard, and in this case when it happened I was sweating because I had put the small money I had into the work. So I was thinking that maybe they can still take it and I will also make something out of it and then I will stop. But it was hard. I tried whatever I can but it happened like the way it is so all my timber was locked at the yard.
Even if you ask the people they can’t give you any good regime or they can’t promise you they will come back at this time to buy the timber again or not, so things were going worse. So I found myself empty handed now because all of the timber that I brought to the yard still remains there. So my money is locked. And not me alone, it was hundreds of people. Even some contained more than 10 containers. Five, four, one, two, some of them contained 10 containers on the yard. They put huge money into the business, it break.
So my little suggestion or advice is sometimes if you want to go into a certain business like this you have to be more curious to know whether it will take you to the end. But how will you know? Because people have secrets, because the Chinese, they already know that they don’t have proper documents. Something like this can happen but they hide it, they were working seriously. And we don’t know because it was their secret, and we are working under them, so once you are working under somebody, you will not know the person’s secret. So by seeing this, something secret that they hide, and later also it blow. So everything breaks. So in the North now, a lot of people are sweating, because some of them borrowed money to this business, and then it happened like this way. It’s sad. The beginning was good, but the end we all regret. That is my small story about this timber business happening in the Northern part of Ghana.