Hon. Dominic Napare, the Member of Parliament (MP) for Sene East in the Brong Ahafo Region, has asked government, through the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, to consider providing outboard motors to fisher-folks in the constituency to cushion their livelihood.
According to him, most fisher-folks in the Sene constituency have been compelled to cough up monies to purchase outboard motor on subsidy between 40 and 60 per cent, which in his view worsens their plight more than ever.
Hon. Napare made the call while he posed a question to the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture on the floor of parliament in Accra last Friday.
Asking the question on the floor, he said, “Mr. Speaker, I want to ask the Minister for Fisheries and Aquaculture whether the ministry has plans to continue the support of outboard motors and others fishing inputs to fishermen.”
In response to the question, the Minister for Fisheries and Aquaculture, Mrs. Elizabeth Afoley Quaye, said the fisheries sector has vast potential in contributing to national food security, nutrition, livelihood, poverty reduction and foreign exchange earnings and that the government has a comprehensive programme to improve production and efficiency within the sector.
According to her, the fisheries sector generates over US$1billion in revenue yearly and accounts for not less than 4.5% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product(GDP) and provides livelihood to an estimated 2.4million people or 10% of the nation’s population who are either employed directly or indirectly in the value chain.
She stated that, government recognizes the extreme importance of this sector in securing our food resources, improve nutrition and reduce poverty, particularly in our fishing communities.
“Mr. Speaker, it is important to draw attention that the fisheries sector comprises the industrial, semi-industrial and artisanal fisheries, the latter being vulnerable. It is in this direction that various interventions have been pursued to support the vulnerable artisanal sector. These include subsidized premix fuel, outboard motors and nets,” she told parliament.
The minister noted that, in 2015 and 2016, the government in collaboration with the Metropolitan, Municipal and Districts Assemblies supplied over 2,000 outboard motors to fishermen in the four coastal regions and the island fishing areas.
Notwithstanding, Mrs. Afoley revealed, the ministry is making arrangement to resume the intervention in terms of supply of outboard motors to the fishermen through the assemblies, stating, “we are also considering the supply of fishing nets to ensure fishermen use the required net sizes for fishing to protect our fisheries resources.”
The minister also indicated that plans are in advance to assist fishermen to easily access working tools just as crop farmers are being supported with fertilizer, tractors and other subsidized prices.
“Mr. Speaker, the supply of outboard motors will improve efficiency and productivity of the operations of our artisanal fishermen. We assure our fisher-folks of government’s commitment to pursue policies that will improve their working and living standards,” she added.
But Hon Napare told The Republic in an interview, he was unimpressed by the answers given by the minister on grounds that the fisher-folks are being treated unfairly as against what they expected from the government, arguing that the subsidy of 40/60 per cent given are unaffordable to the fishermen.
He told the paper that he would pose another question to the minister to explain further on the fisheries issues
Source: therepublicnewsonline.com/Felix Engsalige Nyaaba