The National Inland Canoe Fishermen Council (NICFC) supports the new policy of government to set up an automation system for distributing pre-mix fuel in the country
They also urged government to increase the price of the pre-mix fuel from GH¢7.50 to GH¢10.
Automating the distribution of pre-mix fuel, according to the Council, will 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 those negative practices to the detriment of poor fisher-folk.
Addressing its Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Accra, the President of the National Inland Canoe Fishermen Council, Mr. Jacob Kabore Tetteh Ageke, said members of the Council have suffered over the years in obtaining pre-mix fuel for fishing – and ended up buying the product at more than triple the government-subsidised price.
This, he explained, has informed their position for a marginal increase in the price of premix to enable the Ministry of Fisheries and the Council put to fruitful use the margin of increment for the benefit of fisher-folk and the Council – in fighting the menace of Child Labour; for 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 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 smuggling of the product – which enriches only a few selfish individuals who have planted themselves in the chain of distribution.
He said when the Council is allowed to handle the distribution of pre-mix fuel to the Inland Fishers, government’s objective to improve the welfare of fishermen and women on Lake Volta by subsidising the pre-mix fuel will be better achieved than the current situation, which rather works against the fishers’ interests.
“We don’t want 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. Tetteh Ageke stressed.
The National Inland Canoe Fishermen Council is the umbrella organisation for the 1,600 communities abutting 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.