RE: AHWOI ACCUSES FISHERMEN OF INSINCERITY AND OPPORTUNISM
5/15/2012 8:22:30 PM -
The Fishermen Friends of Nana Akufo-Addo (FIFNAA) would like to make public its strong exception to certain comments and statements that recently emanated from the Minister of Food and Agriculture, Honourable Kwesi Ahwoi, in Tema.
Those comments made by the Minister really exposed the Minister and the NDC as a group of people who just made all sort of promises to the fishermen in 2008 just to get their votes. The question is, when did the minister and the NDC realize the 'two-facedness of the fishermen in this country? All that fishermen are doing is to call on the Atta Mills led- NDC government to fulfill its numerous promises to improve upon the lots of the fisher folks in 2008.
First, fishermen are paying higher prices for premix than what fishermen were supposed to pay because Landing Beach Committee members have arrogated to themselves the power to add extra amount to the approved amount that fishermen have to pay for premix. Originally, a gallon of premix is supposed to be sold for GH¢2.48 but for the sake of change, a gallon of premix should have gone for GH¢2.5 but the Landing Beach Committees have added extra GHp 20 or in all GHp 22 to the original GH¢2.48 per gallon and as a result, a gallon of premix is sold at GH¢ 2.70 under OFARNYI KWAGYA II Atta Mills who happens to come from the coast. As a result, a whopping amount of GH¢660 unapproved profit is made by the committee members (NDC apparatchiks, even MMDCEs have representatives on theses committees) on the sale of each tanker- load of premix. It is this booty that appointees and relations of the president have been going round the beaches for their shares.
Also, FIFNAA enjoins the authority to implement the Fisheries Act in a fair manner but not in a very biased manner as we are seeing today. The Fisheries Regulations ban the use of lighting, certain fishing nets, and certain chemicals in fishing but lighting is the only thing that has engaged the attention of the authority whilst some fishermen use the other banned fishing methods and gears unpunished. The Fisheries Regulations of 2010 should be implemented in a fair manner and in its totality.
A glance through those portions of the Fisheries Regulations, 2010 which was gazetted on the 25th of June, 2010 and came into force on the 3rd of August, 2010 raises a lot of questions. Why is it that those importing those prohibited fishing gears, especially the nets, are not arrested? Is the use of light for fishing the only prohibited fishing method that this regulation talks about? If not, then why the concentration on only the use of light whilst other fishermen use other prohibited fishing methods and gears for fishing but not arrested?
It will also be in the interest of Ghanaians to know the hypocrisy of the authority. Whilst it is clearly stipulated in the Fisheries Regulations of 2010 that monofilament net is prohibited in the country for fishing, the government awarded a fisherman in the Central region with this monofilament net on the 2010 Farmers Day.
Furthermore, it is also factually incorrect that the Fisheries Regulations, 2010 came into being upon wider consultations with the stakeholders of the fishing industry. However, only few fishermen, mostly NDC fishermen, gathered at Dodowa to deliberate on these regulations. If indeed wider consultations had been done and the real fishermen had made inputs, then why are the same people kicking against something that they have fore-knowledge? What is happening clearly shows that only few greedy people gathered at Dodowa to come up with these regulations.
It is our wish to remind the minister and the NDC that the issues of pair- trawling, poor catch, scarcity and smuggling of premix, high cost of fishing gears, such as outboard motor, and poverty still persist in astronomical levels in the country's coastal communities since president Mills became president. Meanwhile, these are the very issues the minister, president and the NDC party rode on to power in 2008.
The president and the NDC should be true to their words and put in place measures to better the lot of the fisher folks.
Kobina Badu ( PRO)