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19.06.2008 General News

Gov`t supports fishermen with GH¢240m equipment

By Richard Attenkah, Tema - Ghanaian Chronicle
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The government, through the Ministry of Fisheries, has presented fishing gear, other fishing inputs and fuel, at an estimated cost of GH¢240 million, to the Ghana Inshore Fisheries Association (GIFA), for distribution to its members countrywide.

Out of the total cost of the GH¢240 million worth of the fishing gear, GH¢121 million would go into the supply of diesel, or fuel for fishing, while the remaining GH¢119 million, would be used to purchase fishing nets of various sizes for the fishermen.

The package, which was given to the local fishermen on credit, payable within 12 months, was to be distributed to members of the GIFA, at the various landing beaches along the shores of Tema, Elmina, Manford and Sekondi Takoradi.

Presenting the items on behalf of the Minister of Fisheries, Mrs. Gladys Asmah, to executives of GIFA at Tema last Friday, the Officer in Charge of Projects at the Ministry, David Aidoo, said it was the desire of the Kufuor administration to revive the fishing industry, by injecting fishing inputs, at subsidized costs, into the industry.

In a speech read on her behalf by the Ministry's Project Officer, Mrs. Asmah, noted that the government had assisted fishermen to purchase 600 outboard motors, at the cost of GH¢1.4 million, to enable them improve upon their operations.

She disclosed that the package, which was to serve as an incentive for the fishermen, was channelled through selected rural banks, also on a credit basis, to fishermen along the coasts from Aflao to Half Assini, and communities along the Volta Lake, including Akateng and Asesewa, among others.

The Fisheries Minister explained that in order to ensure transparency in the distribution of the outboard motors, as well as to guarantee that the rightful persons received the items, the chief fishermen in the various fishing communities, were actively involved.

Mrs. Asmah continued that the presentation of the fishing gear to the local fishermen, which was initiated by their leadership, was ample evidence that the government had confidence in our local fishermen.

The Minister, who is also the Member of Parliament (MP) for Takoradi, divulged that the NPP government intended presenting another package to the fishermen, this time round, 50 in-board motors, estimated to cost GH¢15 million, specifically for those using wooden vessels.

The President of GIFA, Joseph Nii Armah-Quaye, who received the items on behalf of the Association, said this was the very first time a sitting government had presented such a huge package to fishermen in the country.

He, therefore, expressed the heartfelt excitement of the fishermen, at the government's gesture, especially the fact that it had responded to their petition.

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