Premix Shortage Hits Dixcove
Fishermen operating in the coastal community of Dixcove in the Ahanta West District of the Western Region have lashed out at President John Evans Atta for the shortage of premix fuel in the area for the past two months, despite his promise to make the commodity available to them at all times.
The angry fishermen also lambasted members of the Landing Beach Committee (LBC) in the area for allegedly misappropriating proceeds accrued from the sale of the pre-mix fuel to the tune of ¢1.1 billion.
According to the fishermen, they believed that the alleged embezzlement of the income from the sale of the product by members of the LBC, who are mostly NDC activists in the area, might be the number one reason the suppliers of the product had ceased supplying.
They alleged that the situation had rendered the over 300 canoes operating in the area inactive, adding that fishermen who could afford had to spend huge sums of money to purchase 'Super' fuel meant for vehicles, for fishing.
They have therefore called on government to institute a full-scale enquiry into allegations of corruption in the distribution of premix fuel in the area, and punish those who would be found culpable.
DAILY GUIDE's visit to the area revealed that most of the fishermen and outboard motor operators were frustrated over the shortage of the premix fuel, and called for urgent action to be taken.
They also appealed to President Mills to fulfil his campaign promise of making life comfortable for the fishermen.
Speaking to DAILY GUIDE on behalf of the fishermen, Kojo Essuon, a canoe owner in the area, alleged that there had been some underhand dealings by some of the members serving on the area's premix landing beach committee.
'Information we have gathered indicated that the members of the landing beach committee cannot account for the sale of the product. We gathered about 1.1 billion cedis of the pre-mix money is missing,' he alleged.
He could not fathom how the committee could owe the suppliers ¢1.1 billion when the fishermen always paid for pre-mix fuel when they were supplied.
He told DAILY GUIDE that but for the timely intervention of the Omanhene of Lower Dixcove, Nana Kwesi Agyeman IX, the angry fishermen would have put on red armbands and marched to the office of the District Chief Executive .
Essuon warned that the fishermen were giving government one week to supply pre-mix fuel to Dixcove or they would organize the biggest fishermen demonstration in the country to let the whole world know that fishermen in Dixcove also had problems and needed immediate solution.
Another canoe owner, Paa Bokrah, alleged that the NDC activists serving on the committee normally bought the product in large quantities, thereby creating artificial shortage, and later sold the premix to the fishermen at exorbitant prices.
The situation, he said, had adversely affected their business, adding that they were even more worried because in the past two months, which was the season for a good catch, there had not been supply of premix in Dixcove.
When contacted, Richard Stevens, secretary to the area's premix Landing Beach Committee, confirmed that the shortage of the product was really due to the 1.1billion cedis owed by the committee members.
He, however, denied the allegations that members of the committee had misappropriated the money and explained that they had managed to defray part of the debt and it was left with ¢330 million to be paid.
He promised the fishermen that the committee members were poised to find money to pay the debt, adding that very soon the product would be supplied to the fishermen in the area.
From Emmanuel Opoku, Dixcove