Agitated fisherfolk across the coastal areas of the
country have threatened to embark on a massive demonstration, following their
inability to access premix fuel to power their outboard motors for some months.
The incensed fishermen said they will soon hit the
streets to press home their demands until the shortage of premix fuel is
resolved by the government.
Speaking on Eyewitness News on Citi FM, the Acting
President of the Ghana National Canoe Fishermen Council, Nana Jojo Solomon,
said, “in actual fact, we were not planning a demonstration but, listening to
the feedback, the signals and the vibes from the various regions, they are
asking leadership to allow them to embark on the demonstration. The fishermen
are getting agitated day in and day out. Fisherfolk in Volta, Western, Central
regions are calling for the demonstration, the pressure is mounting”.
He explained that the fisherfolk have not been able to
access premix fuel for the past four months, saying the Bulk Distribution
Companies (BDCs) are not prepared to supply to the fishermen.
According to him, the fishermen have resorted to
purchasing petrol and mixing it with oil from the regular pumps which are very
expensive, thereby transferring the cost to the consumers.
He bemoaned the suffering the fishermen are going
through, adding that majority of them have fallen out of business.
“It’s been four months without premix fuel. The premix
is not there, we are buying from the regular pumps which are very expensive.
The few canoe owners who are able to afford fall out with huge debts here and
there, and it’s a source of worry. Now we are getting fish, but there’s no
premix,” he said on the show.
He called for an audience with President Akufo-Addo to
find lasting solutions to the shortage of premix fuel, stressing that the issue
is now beyond the powers of the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development,
Madam Mavis Hawa Koomson.
Nana Solomon indicated that the series of meetings
between the fishermen, the Ministry of Fisheries, the Ministry of Finance, and
other policymakers have yielded no results, adding that the fisherfolk cannot
endure the challenges they are faced with anymore.
“We have been holding back and forth meetings, so we
realised that this has to be placed at the doorsteps of the President asap so
that the needful thing will be done. Ever since this premix fuel issue reared
its ugly head, we have been in several meetings with the sector minister. We
realised that the issues at stake are way beyond her jurisdiction. Fishermen
cannot endure the hardships anymore, it gets to a point we need to be very
blunt with policymakers and authorities that they cannot hold fishermen to a
ransom. If it (demonstration) happens, I don’t think it will augur well for
them,” he said on Eyewitness News.
The Acting President of Ghana National Canoe Fishermen
Council asserted that they have not been provided with any concrete explanation
as to why there’s a shortage of premix fuel, adding that the fishermen are