The National Inland Canoe Fishermen Council (NICFC) fully supports the new policy of the government and the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development to set up an automation system for the distribution of Premix fuel in the country.
It also urged government to increase the price of the Premix fuel from GH₵7.50 to GH₵10.00.
The automation of the distribution of Premix fuel according to the council, would eliminate the incessant smuggling, hoarding and hijacking of the product to ensure equitable distribution to the Fishers and prevent the activities of a ‘cartel of dubious persons’ who engage in the negative practices to the detriment of the poor fisher folks.
Addressing the Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Accra, the President of the National Inland Canoe Fishermen Council, Mr Jacob KaboreTettehAgeke, said members of the council had suffered over the years in obtaining premix fuel for fishing and many ended up buying the product at more than triple the government subsidised price.
That, he explained, had informed their position for a marginal increase in the price of premix to enable the Ministry of Fisheries and the council to put to fruitful use the margin of increment for the benefit of the fisher folks and the Council in fighting the menace of child labour, the welfare of aged members who are no longer able to fish and the construction of a modern fishing market complex for members who ply their trade along the Volta Lake.
Mr Tetteh Ageke, said in addition to using the marginal percentage increment for the good and benefit of the Fishermen and women, including the ability to fund the purchase of outboard motors and other fishing equipment, it would also go a long way in preventing the smuggling of the product which enriches only a few selfish individuals who had planted themselves in the chain of distribution.
He said if the council was allowed to handle the distribution of premix fuel to the Inland fishers, the objective of government to improve the welfare of the fishermen and women on the Volta Lake by subsidizing the premix fuel would be better achieved than the current situation which rather works against the interest of the fishers.
‘We don’t want the government to buy outboard motors and nets for us. We want to have money for our Council to be able to buy our own Fishing equipment for distribution to our members,”Mr Ageke stressed.
The National Inland Canoe Fishermen Council is the umbrella organisation for the 1,600 communities abutting the lake Volta across 34 Districts in 10 Regions of Ghana with over 80,000 fishermen and 20,000 fishmongers from a population of over 2 million along the Lake.