All four parliamentary candidates contesting the Komenda Edina Eguafo Abrem (KEEA) Constituency seat have promised to end the practice of illegal trans-shipment at sea popularly known as “Saiko” when elected as Members of Parliaments (MP).
The candidates: Mr Samuel Atta Mills of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Mr John Sterling, Progressive People’s Party (PPP), Dr Samuel Joe Acquah, New Patriotic Party (NPP) and Mr Abubakar Sadiq, Ghana Union Movement (GUM), unanimously acknowledged the negative effects of saiko on the fishing industry.
They were answering questions on what they could do better to improve the industry at a parliamentary debate organised by the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) in Elmina as part of efforts to promote issue- based campaigns to enable the electorates make informed decisions.
The candidates answered questions on how they would reduce unemployment, improve road network as well as the fisheries sector, education among others which were the pressing issues for the constituents.
Both Mr Sterling and Mr Sadiq stated that they would make sure that saiko was stopped and create avenues to improve the living conditions of local fishermen if voted for as Members of Parliament.
“Successive governments have not had the courage to deal with the foreign trawlers destroying our sea,” Mr Sterling stated.
Mr Atta Mills of the NDC promised to depoliticize the distribution of premix fuel and outboard motors to ensure that they were supplied to those who were actually fishermen.
Messrs Sterling and Sadiq shared the same sentiments and pledged to end the practice, which had left majority of fishermen impoverished.
Mr Atta Mills further states that an NDC government would be committed to ensuring the rebreeding of the marine stock and will equip the Ghana Navy with the necessary tools for them to adequately patrol the sea and enforce the country’s fisheries laws.
Additionally, he said, the NDC would provide credit facilities to fishermen and fishmongers to improve their businesses.
On job creation, Mr Atta Mills said the NDC would operationalise both the Komenda Sugar Factory and the Elmina Fish Processing Factory to create jobs for the teeming unemployed youth in the Constituency.
He said the NDC would support the youth to learn a trade though the apprenticeship programme outlined in its manifesto where beneficiaries would be given some allowances while learning trade.
This, he believed would significantly reduce unemployed and improve the socio-economic activities of the Constituency.
Dr Acquah of the NPP described the fishing industry as a thriving one, which with prudent management could rake in more revenue for the country.
He expressed the commitment of the NPP government towards the fisheries sector, which had seen provision of Outboard motors and subsidized premix fuel.
He said the NPP government would continue to invest in the sector and put in place measures to enhance the growth of the sector.
Mr Sterling on the other hand promised to establish an entrepreneurship fund to support young entrepreneurs who wanted to establish their own businesses.
Mr Sadiq also said GUM would roll out an apprenticeship programme and give out interest free loans of up to GHS2,000 as a start-up capital to beneficiaries to start their own businesses.77