Prudent measures introduced by the National Premix Fuel Committee to check the diversion of the product saved the country GH¢36 million between 2017 and 2018.
During that period, premix fuel to fishermen reduced by 20.62 per cent.
The Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development (MoFAD), Mrs Elizabeth Afoley Quaye, who made this known in Accra yesterday, said 72,738,000 litres of premix was lifted from the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) to various landing beaches in 2018, as against the 91,738,000 litres recorded in 2017.
The minister was giving an outline of the activities of the ministry when she took her turn at the ‘meet-the-press’ series.
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Mrs Quaye said one of the measures the committee adopted was a nationwide audit of landing beaches in the fishing communities which ensured that those which did not meet the acceptable standards were closed.
Giving details of that exercise, she said 187 of the landing beaches which did not meet the standards had been closed down, thereby reducing their number from 293 to 106.
Furthermore, she said, the 126 landing beaches that existed along the Volta Lake in the Volta Region had been reduced to 51, while those in the former Brong Ahafo Region were also reduced from 38 to 10.
The Eastern and Northern regions also had a reduction of landing beaches from 77 to 31 and 52 to 14, respectively.
Mrs Quaye added that the National Premix Fuel Secretariat installed tracking software at the secretariat that made it possible to effectively monitor the movement of fuel trucks from TOR to their intended destinations.
“These measures had resulted in a zero incidence of premix diversion since November 2017, while landing beaches across the country have witnessed improved and consistent supply of premix based on actual demand, with the help of the various Premix Fuel Regional Coordinating councils,” she said.
She added that the managers of all landing beaches across the country had been introduced to proper record-keeping.
“The National Premix Secretariat can proudly confirm that because of the prudent management of premix nationwide, over GH¢7 million was accumulated in various landing beach committee accounts as of the end of 2018.
“Projects such as market squares with stores, drainage systems, toilet facilities, Community-based Health Planning Services (CHIPS) compounds and hostels are at various stages of construction as far as the utilisation of the 53 per cent community development fund is concerned,” she announced.
Touching on measures to revamp the fishing industry, the minister said the $50-million grant from China for the construction of the Jamestown Fishing Harbour Complex was being put to good use.
She said the necessary preparatory works, including the drafting of the design and land survey had been completed, with an inter-sectoral landing site construction committee set up to supervise the project.
“It is envisaged that actual construction will begin in July 2019,” she said.
Mrs Quaye said MoFAD had provided increased extension services and technology solutions, leading to an increase in production in the sector from 52,471 tonnes in 2016 to 76,620 tonnes in 2018.
“To support the government’s agenda for jobs, MoFAD has initiated a flagship programme dubbed Aquaculture for Food and Jobs (AFJ) to complement the ongoing Planting for Food and Jobs programme by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA).
“At full operation, the programme is expected to create additional 80,000 direct and indirect jobs along the aquaculture value chain and provide an additional 50,000 tonnes of fish over a three-year period for the country,” she added.
The Deputy Minister of MoFAD, Mr Francis Kingsley Ago Cudjoe; a Deputy Information Minister, Mr Pius Enam Hadzide, and other officials of the two ministries were present at the event.