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General News of Saturday, 1 March 2014

Source: Graphic Online

Elmina chief apologises for embarrassing Prez Mahama

The Paramount Chief of Elmina, Nana Kojo Conduah IV, has openly apologised to President John Dramani Mahama for the embarrassment he caused the President due to the siting of the multi-million-cedi Elmina fish processing plant.

He attributed his opposition to the project to "miscommunication" and said as a responsible chief, he could not allow petty issues to prevent his people from benefiting from the laudable project.

The Omanhene rendered the apology at a durbar organised to welcome the President to Elmina yesterday. Mr Mahama was on a two-day working visit to the Central Region.

Last year, some members of the Edina Traditional Council refused to participate in the ceremony to mark the start of the fishing project which was performed by the President because they claimed they were not consulted in the selection of the site for the project.

Speaking at yesterday’s durbar, the Omanhene said the traditional council now fully endorsed the project and promised to give the government all its support to ensure its completion.

Fishing inputs

Addressing the gathering earlier, President Mahama expressed delight that the confusion that resulted from the execution of the project had been resolved amicably and gave the assurance that the processing plant would be completed.

Mr Mahama also said the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development was working to ensure that fishing inputs reached fisherfolk before August, as they had requested.

The fishermen complained that the late arrival of the inputs affected their catch, especially since climate change had pushed the fishing period from August back to April/May.

Mr Mahama, however, asked the beneficiaries to endeavour to pay for the cost of the inputs so that the government would have the resources to continue supplying the items.

Premix fuel

He gave the assurance that the government would not remove the subsidy on premix fuel. Presently, pre-mix fuel enjoys about 60 per cent subsidy.

President Mahama said the fact that the troubles associated with premix fuel were now a thing of the past attested to the sanity prevailing in the fishing industry.

He commended the joint efforts of the Navy, Marine Police and the fisheries ministry for stopping commercial trawlers from operating in the artisanal fishing zone and said some trawler operators had been arrested and fined.

Fish import

President Mahama also said it was unacceptable for the nation to spend over $100 million annually to import fish when fish production could be increased. The government was, therefore, determined to support the fishermen to increase their catch to meet national requirements.

He also said a new bridge would be constructed over the lagoon in the town.

The Fisheries Minister, Mr Nayon Bilijo, said five cold stores had been completed and would soon be handed over to the district assemblies for use by the fishermen.

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