Professor Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang, Vice Presidential candidate of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) has described the nepotism that has engulfed the supply of premix fuel to canoe fishermen as retrogressive and divisive.
The situation, she said, has eroded the enormous gains made by the previous NDC administration in the management of premix fuel supply, adding that the trend has to be reversed for the benefit of fishermen across the country.
“Why should there be discrimination in the allocation of premix fuel. Why should only a section of people get access to the product which is meant for all,” she asked.
Addressing a durbar of fishermen and fish mongers in the coastal community of Axim in the Western region as part of her tour of the region, Prof. Opoku-Agyemang said it is regrettable that the increasing marginalization and discrimination in the allocation of development resources has extended to the fishing sector.
“Political power is not meant to create division. A government, like an elder, is supposed to provide and look after all its children without discrimination.
“This is very divisive. This is not how we were brought up,” she said.
The Running Mate, who was accompanied by the former Second Lady, Mrs Matilda Amissah-Arthur and the former Minister of Fisheries, Madam Sherry Ayittey, gave the assurance that the next NDC administration would ensure fairness in the distribution of the fuel and subsidized outboard motors.
Prof. Opoku-Agyemang recounted how the supply of pre-mix fuel and subsidized outboard motors benefited all, irrespective of one’s party affiliations, adding that the fortunes and integrity of the fishing industry would be restored by the NDC.
That, she said, would be done by restructuring the distribution system to make it “very transparent.”
Madam Ayittey, responding to a number of concerns of the leadership of the fishermen in the area, said the cost of outboard motor which is said to have increased from GH¢ 6,000 in 2016 to about GH¢ 15,000 would be reduced to the 2016 rate.
In addition, she said the installment payment system, which offered flexible terms for payment for the motors would be restored by the NDC.
Regarding the restructuring of the premix fuel distribution, she explained that the current pre-mix committees which have been hijacked by members of the ruling party, would be reconstituted to have the chief fishermen as heads of the committees.
Ebenezer Afful, 2015 National Best Fisherman, and spokesman for the fishermen, said the discrimination has seriously affected the canoe fishing business in the Western Region.
“Now, most of us do not get premix fuel to go to sea,” he said, adding that the high level of nepotism and corruption has collapsed the canoe fishing business.
He prayed for change in the management of the industry to save the youth in the area from joblessness, and expressed optimism that the NDC represents that desired change.