Some concerned fishermen at Elmina in the Komenda-Edina-Eguafo-Abrem (KEEA) Municipality, have decried the inefficient supply of premix fuel to augment their activities.
The supply of premix fuel in the area they said lacked transparency, accountability, and fairness as a few privileged individuals had hijacked the distribution for their gains.
At a news conference on Sunday, Mr John Quayson, popularly known as Manoma, spokesperson for the fishermen and the immediate past National Premix Committee Chairman, said the persistent occurrence of premix fuel diversion was a drawback to sustaining fishers’ livelihoods.
He alleged that the commodity had been hijacked by some politically connected people who had resorted to selling a gallon for GH¢350 instead of GH¢240 whilst a barrel of premix fuel was being sold for GH¢3,000 instead of GH¢1,680.
The prevailing situation, according to him, was contrary to the objectives of the Premix Automation Fuel Dispensary and Monitoring System being spearheaded by the Government to curtail corrupt practices in the sale of the fuel.
Barely a couple of months ago, fishermen and other fishing industry stakeholders across the country welcomed the automated fuel outlets, commending the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development for the effort to reduce abuse and waste in the supply chain.
The Vice-President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, simultaneously inaugurated 50 automated premix fuel dispensing and monitoring outlets, using three sites at Elmina to symbolically mark the inauguration of the facility across the country’s coastline.
The project is expected to transform and redefine the landscape of the fishing industry and usher in an era of efficiency, transparency, and accountability.
Mr Quayson indicated that the transformative initiative had yielded no positive impact on fisherfolks in accessing premix fuel, but rather deepened premix corruption.
“The introduction of the Premix Automation System is to eliminate corruption, diversion, and other bottlenecks associated with the supply and distribution of premix fuel.
“Currently the automation is not efficiently working as we were told. It appears null and void,” he said.
He alleged political hijack of the distribution, saying: “The politicians have taken over the process, of selling fuel to themselves and cronies.
“They buy in quantities and resell to us at exorbitant prices. People who do not own cannot even have access to buy while the rightful people struggle in pain to get.”
Mr Quayson also underscored the importance of the fishing sector to the Ghanaian economy and the need to ensure smooth administration to cushion and empower the coastal population that largely depended on it.
He acknowledged that though some progress had been made, much more needed to be done to ensure the livelihood of its members were protected.
He appealed to the National Premix Secretariat to streamline premix fuel allocation to safeguard the livelihood of all fisher folks.
A source at the National Premix Committee Secretariat who pleaded anonymity denied there was a shortage of premix fuel in the area.
“The Elmina community received fuel barely 72 hours ago, so how can he say there is no fuel? That’s not true.
“They should stop reading politics into every intervention and support the government to empower fishermen to improve their livelihoods.
He said they had no interest in starving anybody of premix fuel, the source added.
Meanwhile, Mr Kwabina Badu, a Fisher wondered why weeks after the commissioning of the automated facility, it was not working for the purpose it was established.
Another fisherman, Samuel Ananmoah said the distribution of the premix fuel lacked transparency, alleging that the commidity was now sold by non-fishers.