Measures adopted by the National Premix Fuel Secretariat (NPFS) to halt the persistent smuggling of premix fuel meant for artisanal fishers, is yielding positive results, as the secretariat is yet to record any incidence of diversion.
The measures, which included restriction of the supply of premix to the lake side and installation of tracking software at the secretariat to monitor the movement of Premix Fuel Trucks load from the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) to its intended destination were instituted by the Inter-Ministerial Committee set up by government.
The Minister for Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, Mrs Elizabeth Afoley Quaye, who announced these at the Meet the Press, organised by the Ministry of Information, in Accra, said premix diversion existed before the current government took over office.
She said government instituted an Inter-Ministerial Committee, comprising the Ministries of Energy, Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, Finance, the National Petroleum Authority and the National Premix Fuel Committee, to strategise and deal with the problem.
Mrs Quaye explained that the committee outlined a number of strategies, including the restrictions of supply to the lake areas and installation of tracking software to ensure effective monitoring.
“In 2018, a total 72, 738,000 litres of Premix Fuel was lifted from Tema Oil Refinery. This represents about 20.63 per cent less that of 2017 (91, 638,000). This was attributed to the prudent premix management practices being pursued by the current NPFC,” she added.
Mrs Quaye explained that the landing beach committees witnessed an improved and consistent supply of premix fuel, based on actual demand with the help of the various Premix Fuel Regional Coordinating Councils, which were inaugurated based on the recommendations of the Economic Management Team.
“Currently, there are 286 landing beaches nationwide after an initial figure of about 475. All landing beaches in country have also been introduced to daily and monthly returns book for proper record keeping and accountability of premix fuel sales,” Mrs Quaye stressed.
She said “this is a deviation from the past where funds belonging to the communities were used for personal gains, the construction of party offices and fund political party activities. The NPFS can proudly confirm that nationwide more than GH¢ 7,000,000 has been accumulated from various landing beaches committee accounts close to two years “.
Touching on the ban on fishing for the year, the Minister said Ghanaians must discount the allegations that the ministry failed to engage the stakeholders.
She said the ministry embarked on series of consultations, which finally led to the fishers agreeing on the months for the enforcement of the ban this year.
Mrs Quaye advised that the closed season was in the interest of Ghanaians, especially the fishers, who were the immediate beneficiaries of fish resource.
She said government was committed to investing in infrastructure development towards the transformation of the fisheries sector.
“Already government was constructing landing sites and fishing harbours, a fisheries college and improved processing facilities and hatcheries,” Mrs Quaye said.
She appealed to stakeholders in the fishing industry to support the government to help restore the sector to its former glory.
BY CLIFF EKUFUL