Government has presented a total of 6,336 outboard motors and other fishing accessories to fisherfolks in communities along the coast in the greater Accra region.
The items are the first batch of 10, 000 outboard motors, to be distributed to fisherfolks at subsidized prices to help alleviate some of the logistical challenges faced by fisherfolks in these communities and as well cushion them against high prices of inputs for artisanal fishing.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, made the presentation through the Ministry of Fisheries and the Coastal Development Authority, yesterday in a major highlight of activities marking his second day of his three-day tour of the Greater Accra Region.
Addressing a durbar of Chiefs, people and fisherfolks at Ga Mashie, Jamestown in the Odododiodio Constituency in Accra, the President said he was enthused to learn that the closed fishing season which was instituted a few months ago by the sector ministry has yielded the needed result.
“I have been informed that the traditional priests, themselves, have asked that another month be added to the close season for the artisanal fishermen and for the trawlers, two more months. They, themselves, have seen the benefits of the close season, so I will also like to ask that you also put a stop to the practice of light fishing. This way, we will really be able to see some progress.”
The President encouraged fisherfolks to eschew negative fishing methods including the use of artificial lighting to fish.
He said the only impediment to achieving the full benefits of the closed fishing season was the practice of light fishing by some fisherfolks in the region.
President Akufo-Addo assured the fisherfolks that his government stands ready to offer the needed support to ensure that the country’s marine resources are managed in a more sustainable and environmentally friendly manner.
The Minister for Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, Elizabeth Afoley Quaye, who also addressed the fisherfolks said her ministry’s preoccupation over the past years in government has been to gather the needed resources for the sector’s development
“Ever since we came to office, we have been gathering resources to get you as many outboard motors as possible. The Coastal Development Authority is bringing 5,000 outboard motors. Agricultural Development Bank (ADB) and the Ministry of Fisheries is bringing 1,336 as well,” she added
The Minister indicated further that her Ministry would soon commence the disbursement of loans amongst members of the National Fish Processors Association to help revamp their enterprises.
Prez assures traders of a better day ahead
President later took a tour of the Kantamanto, Okaishie and the Makola Market, where he addressed an enthusiastic crowd of traders.
He told the traders that his government was working around the clock and in consultation with the Bank of Ghana and other key stakeholders to reduce interest rates to help make their businesses profitable.
President Akufo-Addo told the traders that the 2020 budget made provisions in its allocation to MASLOC for the traders to access funds to revamp their business, especially for those whose monies are locked up in the defunct Micro-finance institutions.
He said although the collapse of the micro-finance institutions was regrettable, it was a necessary step government had to take to avert a far more disastrous situation and appealed to them to bear with government as it finds a solution to the matter.
President Akufo-Addo commended the Accra Metropolitan Chief Executive for initiating the redevelopment of the market and assured market women that his government remained committed to the speedy development of the country.
President calms nerves of GUTA members
President Akufo-Addo later met with the leadership and members of the Ghana Traders Union Association (GUTA) where he admonished them to exercise restraint and refrain from taking the law into their hands in the raging issue of foreign participation in the retail business.
The President noted that although the law favoured Ghanaians on the matter, taking the law into their own hands would lead to a chaotic situation.
“People cannot take the law into their own hands and enforce the law. If we do that, Ghana will become chaotic. We have to be careful about this phenomenon of taking the law into our own hands about situations that government is yet to resolve,” he stressed.
He told the members of the Association to remain calm as the Minister of Trade and other stakeholders deliberate on finding a lasting solution to the problem.
“Please allow the work that the Trade Minister and the Committee are doing with the Immigration Authorities to progress. I am confident that if we allow same to work, your issues with foreign participation in the retail business will soon be a thing of the past in line with the law,” the President urged.
Dr. Joseph Obeng, President of GUTA, who shared the president’s view on the matter, assured that the Association would cooperate with government to ensure that the matter is resolved without a dent on the country’s image.
He commended the government for the reduction in import duties that was bringing down the cost of doing business.
The GUTA President also appealed to the President to put an eye on the activities at the ports, because the port authorities were charging way above the approved fees for handling of goods which is making business at the port difficult.
He also wondered why there was still a task force at the ports, when port processes have been automated, and thus called on government to check the activities of the task force since they hamper workings of the Paperless system.
Odaw drainage project to be completed next year
President Akufo-Addo also inspected the progress of work on the Odawna-Sahara drainage project.
Minister for Works and Housing, Samuel Atta Akyea, who led the President to the project site, assured that work on the project would be completed in February 2020.
Construction of the Odawna Area Drain, commenced in December, 2017, and involves the construction of reinforced concrete rectangular covered drain measuring 3.5mx 2.0mx520m length, including side drains.
Under the flood Relief works, a contract was awarded to Messrs. Chum Turk Ventures in April, 2019 for the construction of the drain around the Odawna ‘Fitters’ area.
The contract sum was GH¢2,499,715.90, and it involves the reconstruction of the existing block to intercept and convey stormwater flows from the Fitters’ area into the Odaw Drain.
Govt to continue investments in education
President Akufo-Addo as part of his tour interacted with tutors and students of St Mary’s SHS and also inspected ongoing intervention projects in the School.
Head Mistress of the school, Mrs. Grace Ashong lauded the government for the efforts it was making to ensure the effective administration of the school.
She noted that so far, the school has received books and food items for the smooth running of the school.
She noted that the students are eternally grateful to the President for initiating the Free Senior High School Policy.
“A promise from students to you, your excellency that they would work very hard to make you proud, they are very grateful to you that but for the free SHS policy, many of them would not have had access to senior high school education,“ she added.
She however, appealed to government for help to build a more secure wall around the school to ward off intruders who scale the short walls into the school to undertake undesirable activities on the school’s compound.
She also noted the open storm drain in front of the school poses a major threat to the lives of the students and thus made a passionate appeal to the president to come to their aid.
President Akufo-Addo on his part said education remains the key to the development of the country “and we are determined to provide much ammunition as possible to students and teachers in our country so that we can have a population that is skilled and capable of developing the talents of each and every one of us”
He assured the school that the requests would be provided in the next few months.
The President ended the day’s tour with a sod cutting ceremony for the construction of a science- based SHS in Weija/Gbawe Municipal Assembly.