The Deputy Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development and Member of Parliament for Trobu, Moses Anim, has charged his colleagues Members of Parliament and Ghanaians to venture into aquaculture production in their homes.
This, he noted, will help reduce the importation of fish into the country and ultimately, save over US$10billion in annual imports.
“The countries that will survive post-pandemic are countries that will increase their import substitution, and I encourage every member of this parliament to go into aquaculture and ensure that we produce fish for ourselves.
“Catfish is not difficult to cultivate at all. In your backyard in small drums, you can easily rear catfish and you would not go buying fish; and at the end of the day, we will reduce importation of fish. So go into catfish production, go into tilapia production,” Mr. Anim said.
The MP made these remarks in his contribution to the debate in Parliament on President Nana Akufo-Addo’s message on the State of the Nation, which he delivered last week.
According to him, a significant aspect of the President’s message was the assurance and the hope he gave to the country in the current economic crisis that it is faced with.
He made reference to the president’s mention of fish as part of commodities that are imported into the country, contributing to the country’s high import bill.
“The President mentioned that in this era of COVID and in this post-pandemic era, countries that will survive are those that will increase their import substitutions. That is very significant and when he mentioned the items or the commodities that we are supposed to increase our domestic production in, he mentioned fish.”
He further noted that as part of measures to improve the sector, the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture, with the support of the presidency, has revised the fisheries and aquaculture policy of 2008, which according to him, has been overtaken by treaties and conventions, and emerging issues in the fisheries and marine space.
“We have revised the 2008 fisheries and aquaculture policy. We have validated them, and we have gotten the approval of cabinet to roll the policy out. This policy, hitherto, was a five focal point policy; we have increased it to 11 focal points. Today, marine is a stand-alone; in-land is a stand-alone; aquaculture is a stand-alone. In 2021, because of some of these measures, we were able to produce 628,000 metric tonnes; the value addition ones are not included. I believe we still have a lot of space to improve.
“We are doing all these things to ensure two things: conservation and sustainable management of the fishery resources, and it is by this way that we can easily channel the fishery resources, and increase fisheries infrastructure and production,” Mr. Anim added.
Meanwhile, the report of a five-member ad hoc cabinet committee set up by President Nana Akufo-Addo on the implementation modalities to enhance domestic production in some 20 selected products on which the country spends more than US$10billion importing yearly is ready for implementation.
Once confirmed, it is expected that the Minister-Designate for Trade and Industry, who is currently awaiting parliament’s approval, will urgently roll out a series of initiatives to implement the policy, the President told parliamentarians during his State of the Nation Address.
Among these target products are rice, fish, poultry, fruit juice, sugar, tomatoes, vegetable oils and oil palm. The list also includes fertiliser, pharmaceuticals, soaps and detergents, insulated wire, ceramic products, corrugated paper and paper-board, cement/clinker, and motor vehicles.
The policy to enhance domestic production and export development is centred on four main strategies: reducing the country’s import bill in the short, medium and long term; enhancing domestic productive capacity in selected products; generating widespread employment opportunities; and diversifying and expanding Ghana’s export capacity to Africa and beyond.
Ex-COCOBOD workers petition Parliament over compensation
A group of pensioners, representing 14,000 individuals across the country, have petitioned Parliament to investigate the underpayment of redundancy benefits owed them as part of the Cocoa Rehabilitation Project between 1993 and 1994.
The Retrenched COCOBOD Debtors’ Association is demanding a compensation of GH₵500,000 each from their former employer for laying them off.
The group indicated that they got a court judgment in 2019 ordering the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) to pay them compensation, but the company has refused to follow the ruling.
In their petition addressed to the Speaker of Parliament, the former workers, who are all now past their retirement age, want Parliament to compel COCOBOD to pay what is due them.
The action, according to William O. Badu, who spoke on behalf of the group, has been necessary due to the current economic challenges.
Receiving the petition on behalf of the Speaker, Member of Parliament (MP) for Pru East, Stephen Jalula; MP for Juaboso, Kwabena Mintah Akando; and North Tongu MP, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, promised that Parliament will give due consideration to their petition
The petitioners are a group of workers who were retrenched in 1993-94 as part of the Cocoa Rehabilitation Project aimed at revamping the cocoa industry.