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General News of Tuesday, 15 July 2003

Source: GNA

Government sets up committee on pre-mix fuel

Accra, July 15, GNA - The government has set up a two-man Fact Finding Committee to look into the activities of pre-mix fuel operators in the country.

Mr Eddie Akita, Minister of State in Charge of Fisheries, said on Tuesday that the committee would advise the Sector Minister on measures to curtail the rampant diversion of the products and ensure efficient delivery.

Mr Akita said this when he met members of the Ghana National Canoe Fishermen Council (GNCFC) at their extra-ordinary general meeting in Accra.

The purpose of the meeting was to introduce the new Sector Minister to the members and also provide a platform for him to interact with a cross-section of the people.

Mr Akita said the government had ordered about 1,000 outboard motors for the fisheries sector to be delivered by the close of the year. So far 290 have been cleared from the Tema Port.

Mr Akita also said the government was in the process of acquiring a Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) to monitor the activities of fishermen in Ghanaian waters and also provide help in times of accidents.

The Minister told the fishermen that government would not "sit down and allow fishing trawlers to deplete Ghanaian waters of its fishing stock".

He said the Ministry had also put in place programmes for people who wanted to go into aquaculture, especially those living along the Volta Lake.

Mr Akita said the government was constructing a fisheries school at Manford in the Central Region, where fishermen from various parts of the country could go to learn new methods of fishing.

Nii Abeo Kyerekuandah, Executive Secretary of the National Fisheries Association of Ghana (NAFAG), noted that the time had come for the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and allied agencies to give greater attention to artisanal fishing so as to prevent its total demise. He said artisanal fishing produces not less than 70 per cent of the total national fish landing.

"We are of the view that the issue of subsidy for fishing inputs requires to be re-visited."

He appealed to the Agricultural Development Bank (ADB) to endeavour to regularly import fishing inputs for fishermen.

"We wish to appeal to the NPP government in the name of 'Positive Change' not to do politics with the fishing industry or matters relating to the industry," he said.