The Member of Parliament for the Odododiodio Constituency, Edwin Nii Lante Vanderpuye has alleged that there have been reports of some fishermen taking their lives due to the current acute shortages in the supply of premix fuel to the various landing beaches across the country.
Speaking to Umaru Sanda Amadu on Eyewitness News, the Odododiodio MP said some fisherfolk had procured loans from banks and some microfinance institutions with hopes of cashing in on the fishing season to enable them to pay back which they are currently defaulting on due to the artificial shortages created in the premix supply chain.
He continued that the pressure exerted by the lending institutions on these fishermen and their inability to withstand the pressure has resulted in some resorting to suicide.
“Some of them are dying because some of them have taken loans from the banks and some microfinance companies, thinking that the fishing season will bring them a little bit of money to pay back these monies, unfortunately, their dreams have been shut,” he said.
He added that the cost of fishing has seen an astronomical increase because the fishermen have to improvise by mixing petrol and diesel to get a premix alternative, so they can go to sea and still end up with no fish, which is putting a psychological strain on them.
“They [fishermen] now have to struggle to get money to go to the filling stations, buy petrol, buy diesel, mix them and go to sea and when they go to sea, they don’t come up with anything, so they end up coming back more distressed.”
He also accused the Government and the Minister of Fisheries of not having any clear-cut plan for bringing closure to this perennial problem.
Accusing the Sector Minister, Mavis Hawa Koomson, Nii Lante Vanderpuye said the cluelessness of the Minister was so apparent for all to see when she appeared on the Floor of Parliament to answer questions pertaining to the shortages
“The Minister could not give us any assurance, and you could see she was struggling to assure when the shortages could be resolved. It is clear they [the Government] don’t have a plan.”
“The situation is bad everywhere; in the Central Region, Western Region, and the Greater Accra Region. The pressure has now been exerted on MPs because these fisherfolks feel the MP has the ability to do something to help with the situation,” he further lamented.