The New Patriotic Party (NPP) would establish an outboard motor assembling plant in the Shama District if given the nod to govern the country.

It would also scrap import duties on fishing inputs in order to make fishing materials more affordable.

Mr Ato Panford, the NPP parliamentary candidate for Shama Constituency, said this during a recent parliamentary candidates’ debate held on the theme: “Election 2016- Prioritizing Fisheries and Oil and Gas Governance Issues for Inclusive Development”.

The event was organized by the Centre for Democratic Development-Ghana and Friends of the Nation, in Shama.
The event, funded by OXFAM and Ghana Oil and Gas Inclusive for Growth (GOGIG), also provided a platform for the parliamentary candidates to present their party key manifesto commitments on fisheries, the oil and gas sector.

The NPP candidate said an NPP government would strengthen and enforce the Fisheries Act 2002 (Act 625) and establish a coastal guard unit that would collaborate with the Ghana Navy, to protect the country’s territorial waters from illegal fishing practices.

An NPP government, he said, would also establish a Coastal Development Fund to support fishermen through the provision of alternative livelihood programmes that would make them financially-independent and self-sustainable.
Mr Panford said the NPP government would also ensure transparency in the distribution of the premix fuel, adding that more sale points of the commodity would be established.

Mr Gabriel Kodwo Essilfie, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) parliamentary candidate and incumbent Member of Parliament for the area, said the NDC government considers the fishing sector as a very critical industry.

He said some social interventions the NDC government had undertaken to improve the sector include the distribution of more than 2,000 subsidised outboard motors to fishermen, the expansion of the Bosumtwi-Sam Fishing Harbour which would enable large fishing vessels to berth.

He said the government under President John Mahama has ensured transparency in the distribution of premix fuel, introduced the fishermen’s insurance programme and would soon complete the construction of a Fisheries College at Anomabo in the Central Region.

Dr Papa Essuman, the Progressive People’s Party (PPP) parliamentary candidate, said the party would establish factories that would use fisheries resources and their by-products to produce animal feeds, glue, soap and would create more jobs for the people.

He said a PPP government would allocate a special quota of the petroleum revenue to the Region for developmental projects because the inhabitants of the region would suffer most in the event of any disaster from the oilfield.

Earlier, Mr Mohammed Mohammed Nasiru, a Consultant of the CDD-Ghana, said the election was about the choice of a political party with the best ideas, policies and programmes that would enhance the livelihoods of the citizenry and it must be done devoid of insults and acrimony.

He urged the supporters of the participating political parties in this year’s polls to desist from any act of violence and personality attacks and rather focus on issues that would enhance the living conditions of the people.

The members of the public were given the opportunity to ask the parliamentary candidates questions bothering on youth unemployment, lack of transparency and accountability in the sale of the premix fuel, scholarship for fishermen’s children, among others.

The debate was moderated by Mr Solomon Kusi Ampofo, the Programme Coordinator of the Friends of the Nation.