By Gifty Arthur
The government, is continuing its programme to support fisher folks by providing insurance cover for some one million (1,000,000) of them across the country, under the Fishermen Life Insurance Scheme, introduced by the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture.
The programme, launched last year, has been successful, but according to the Minister for Fisheries and Aquaculture, there are opponents of government, who are ill-advising the fishermen, from associating with it.
Madam Sherry Ayitey, has therefore, asked the fisher folks to register immediately and ignore lies by the detractors.
“The 2nd phase of the Scheme is to provide a life cover for canoe owners and their crew members, property insurance cover for the canoes and the outboard motors. The Ministry, envisages to provide insurance cover for one million (1, 000, 000) fishermen. I wish to urge and encourage all
fishers to patronize the scheme”.
The targeted number, The Herald, gathered followers the successful launch of the Scheme last December, which according to the sector Minister, registered some seven thousand (7,000) fishermen.
Madam Ayitey, said this when she launched the Coastal Sanitation Project under the Presidential Initiative to Support Fishing, at Lower Axim in the Nzema -East Municipal Assembly of the Western Region last Friday.
Speaking in impeccable Fanti dialect, the minister, announced that government was also about introducing scholarship schemes for children of fishermen and fishmongers, just like it’s done for others in the cocoa industry.
That programme she noted, is starting in November 2016, and asked the men and women to support by registering for the package so that their children, can enroll in school and become useful to the community and the nation as a whole.
Under the Coastal Sanitation Project, government is to implement programmes to ensure that the country’s beaches are clean from human activities, especially the offensive practice of defecating into the sea, which leaves it in a very deplorable state, sometimes making it very difficult to consume the fish that comes from it.
She said, “Each facility will include the construction of 12-seater toilets with a 12-unit washroom, a pavilion to host social services such as health, education, biogas plant borehole and water reservoir for its efficient running”.
The initiative, follows request by the fisher folks to the president, John Dramani Mahama, who they praised as having introduced various interventions such as distribution of outboard motors at subsidized prices, tricycles, wire mesh, aluminum basins, and regular supply of premix fuel etc.
Ms Ayitey said, before the country could take bigger advantage of the fishing industry in terms of export to earn foreign exchange, government would have ensure hygienic sanitary conditions at the various landing beaches and fishing communities.
“The fisheries sector has huge potential to earn foreign exchange for the country. Ghana’s export of fish and fisheries products to the European Union [EU] along is over five hundred million annually”, she said.
Already, the Ministry in collaboration with the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations, has launched the Youth in Coastal Sanitation Module, under the Youth Employment Authority (YEA), where about five thousand (5000), are being employed to clean the coast. The measures are also aimed at boosting tourism as that sector presents the most economic activity.
“In ensuring high quality of fish from our coastal communities while safeguarding the health of our fisheries, it is imperative that attention is paid to the sanitary conditions in the coastal communities”, she said.
Ms Ayitey, said the initiative would be implemented in phases and in the first one, 13 selected fishing communities will benefit from the facilities including Anto Apewosika in Axim.
She mentioned that Greater Accra, Central, Volta and Western Regions, would have three communities benefitting from the first phase. The remaining fishing coastal regions being Eastern will have two communities benefitting. In the Greater Accra Region the communities are, Anuakpor, James Town and Kpone while in the Central Region they are Dago, Moree and Otuam.
The rest are; Western Region, Abuesi, Bonyere, Anto Apewosika and in the Volta Region they are Akplortor, Amutinu and Hedranuwo. Eastern Region is Marine Matikpo and one other.
The second phase will follow immediately the first phase is completed and handed over to the chief fishermen and their executives. She asked the communities to be vigilant and ensure accountability of the funds that will be raised from running the facilities.
Others speakers such as the Omanhene of the Lower Axim Traditional Area, Awulae Atibrukusu, Member of Parliament (MP) Evalue-Ajomoro-Gwira Constituency Kweku T Kessie and the Municipal Chief Executive (MCE), James Baidoo, praised government for the various projects initiated in the community and asked that the facility to be built be maintained well.
The MCE warned that after the implementation of the project, residents would have no excuse to still use the beaches as their places of convenience warning the law will deal drastically with anyone who flouts the law.
“The Coastal Sanitation Project will equally keep our beaches clean and help attract tourists which will bring Ghana foreign exchange”, he said. The programme was themed, “Coastal Sanitation: Our Health, Our Business”.