The 2016 presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has assured fisherfolk across the coastal areas of the country of better times and improved conditions of work under an Akufo-Addo-led NPP government, when, God-willing, he wins the November presidential election.
Addressing fisherfolk at Apeosika, in the Evaluegwira constituency in the Western Region, on Tuesday, February 16, Nana Akufo-Addo noted that with Ghana’s fishing population accounting for 10% of the country’s total population, it is that important measures are put in place to stimulate growth in the sector.
This growth, he assured, will be achieved through deliberate and concerted efforts of his government aimed at increasing the contribution to GDP of the fishing sector from the current levels of 4.5% to 10% of GDP.
The first measure towards stimulating growth in the sector sector, he said, will be to tackle aggressively the phenomenon of light fishing activities across the country which is depleting the marine stocks of Ghana’s waters.
“Tackling light fishing has to be a priority of any government, especially in Akufo-Addo’s government. We will do this to help all of us, otherwise, not too far away in the future, there will be no fish left for us in our waters. We have to preserve the marine stocks of our country, and step one will be dealing with the situation of light fishing,” he noted.
The second measure, he noted, will be to establish landing sites and fishing harbours in Axim and in other parts of the coastal belt of the country.
Nana Akufo-Addo, prior to his encounter with the fisherfolk, paid a courtesy call on Awulae Atibrukusu III, Chief of Axim who, in his remarks to the NPP leader, stated that it was under the NPP, when the late Gladys Asmah was the Minister of Fisheries, that the sod for the construction of a landing site in Axim was cut.
“We didn’t get the additional term in office from 2008 to be able to complete this project, and others across the country. 8 years after we left office, nothing has been done by the NDC government to construct this landing site. Gladys Asmah is dear to the heart of the NPP, and what we can do to honour her will be to complete these landing sites and fishing harbours across the country,” he assured.
Thirdly, the construction of a sea defense wall to protect the citizenry of Axim, he noted, is of the utmost importance. He told the gathering that he had seen at firsthand the collapsed nature of the wall, which posed a threat to lives along the coast of Axim.
“There is no reason why the ancient city of Axim, home of Paa Grant, should not have a sea defense wall. It will be a priority of my administration,” he added.
On the issue of the rising cost of fishing inputs, Nana Akufo-Addo explained that the situation boils down to the mismanagement of the Ghanaian economy by the NDC government, stressing that “if you have good governance you can solve the problems of your country.”
He stressed that the increase in the price of an outboard motor, from GH¢2,950, at the end of 2008, to the current price of GH¢10,900, as per statistics obtained from the Ghana Canoe and Fishermen’s Council, is an example of the effects of economic mismanagement under the last 8 years of the NDC government.
“We (in the NPP) are bringing good governance to Ghana to solve the problems of the people of this country, so we can bring relief to all every Ghanaian,” he said, to loud cheers of approval from the gathering.
The NPP flagbearer was at a loss as to why the sale of premix fuel for fishing activities had been put in the hands of District Chief Executives and political appointees in the country.
“Let us leave it to the fishermen to deal with the premix fuel themselves. That way, there will be no politicisation or cronyism in this matter. We can only build Ghana when we all put our shoulders to the wheel. We (in the NPP) are not going to politicize issues of economic activities in this country. Whether you are NDC or NPP, we are all Ghanaians and we all have to join hands and work hard for the development of this country”, he added.
In concluding, Nana Akufo-Addo asked for the support of the fisherfolk of Apeosika stressing that “everything you can do to help me win the election, please do. I am appealing to you to have confidence in me and support me fully. This is my third attempt. Try me also and when, God-willing, you give me the opportunity, I promise that I will not let you down.”