Story: Simon Ahensan
Agitated fisher folk 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 the media, 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 fisher folk had not been able to access premix fuel for the past four months, saying the Bulk Distribution Companies (BDCs) were 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 were going through, adding that majority of them had 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.
Nana Solomon indicated that the series of meetings between the fishermen, the Ministry of Fisheries, the Ministry of Finance, and other policymakers hadyielded no results, adding that the fisherfolk could not endure the challenges they were 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.
The Acting President of Ghana National Canoe Fishermen Council asserted that they had not been provided with any concrete explanation as to why there’s a shortage of premix fuel, adding that the fishermen are getting agitated.