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426 dams built under One Village, One Dam initiative – Hawa Koomson

BY: Nana Konadu Agyeman & Emmanuel Bruce
Minister designate for Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, Mrs Mavis Hawa Koomson
Minister designate for Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, Mrs Mavis Hawa Koomson

The Minister designate for Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, Mrs Mavis Hawa Koomson, says the defunct Special Development Initiatives Ministry was able to construct 426 dams under the One Village, One Dam initiative.

Mrs Koomson, who was in charge of the ministry, told the Appointments Committee of Parliament on Thursday that the target was to build 560 dams in the five regions in the north.

She said however that out of the target, 471 were executed, out of which 426 had been fully completed.

Each dam, she said, was constructed at the cost of between GH¢ 200,000 and GH¢ 250,000.

She added that the One Village, One Dam, was not meant to give every village a project within the four years of the administration.

“We targeted to give every constituency in the northern region 10 dams for a start and that is what we did. This is because the number of villages within the five northern regions are more than 5,000 and so there was no way we could construct 5,000 dams over a period of four years,” she said.

When asked how much target she achieved under the $1 million per constituency initiative, she said “we have achieved close to 70 to 80 per cent.”

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Youth in Aquaculture

On what she would do to support the fishing industry, the nominee pledged to build on the Youth in Aquaculture and Jobs programme, initiated by her predecessor, to help increase fish production.

She also promised to enforce the laws that banned the use of light in fishing and ensure that the right fishing equipment was used to protect fish species.

Premix fuel

On concerns about the distribution of premix fuel to fisherfolk, Mrs Koomson expressed worry over diversion of the product as well as inequitable distribution to fisherfolk.

She said since the government had already initiated measures to track fuel tankers carting premix fuel to fishing communities, she promised to also introduce other measures that would ensure that the premix fuel would be available to all fishermen on time.

Fishing seasons

To protect fish species in the sea, Mrs Koomson said when she secured the nod as the substantive sector minister, she would work with various stakeholders and fishing communities in the enforcement of the open and close fishing seasons in compliance with the Fisheries Act to conserve marine species.

That, she believed, would also increase fish population in the ocean.

Vision

Highlighting her vision for the industry, she pledged to collaborate with the Agriculture Development Bank to support fisherfolk with soft loans to expand their ventures.

She promised to also collaborate with the private sector to ensure that fish feed was obtained at a moderate cost as well as reach out to the Finance Ministry to consider a waiver on fish feed by Parliament.

“I will also be glad to support fisherfolk especially women to be able to enhance their work in the sector,” she said.

Apology

At the start of her vetting, Mrs Koomson apologised for firing warning shots during the voters registration exercise in the Awutu-Senya East on July 20, 2020.

She said she fired warning shots into the air as self-defence to save her life since she had no bodyguard at the time of the incident, which occurred 150 metres away from the polling station at 6.30 a.m.

“It was an unfortunate incident and I wish it never happened on that day; I pray it also never happens again in the history of Ghana’s politics,” she said

She also apologised to the people in her constituency who might have been affected by the shooting incident.

“I want to use this opportunity to apologise to the people who were so scared on that day; it was in defence of myself because I felt my life was in danger.

“That day, I thought I needed to save my life by defending myself and I want to plead with this committee that the issue is before the police for investigation and I would not want to say much about it,” she said.

She made the apology after the NPP Member of Parliament (MP) for Gushegu, Mr Alhassan Tampuli Sulemana, had asked her to tell the committee what exactly happened during the voters registration exercise in her constituency in July 2020.

Prior to responding, she spent a little over three hours answering questions relating to her stewardship as the Minister of Special Initiatives, the establishment of the three development authorities, premix fuel, landing ports in coastal communities, Youth in Aquaculture and Jobs, procurement of 307 ambulances for the constituencies and procurement of 10,000 beds, among others.

Gun was licensed

Giving an account of what happened on the day of the shooting incident, Mrs Koomson said her bodyguard reported for duty at the time she left home at about 6 a.m. that day.

She admitted that she owned the gun she fired and that it was duly licensed.