Elizabeth Naa Afoley Quaye, Minister of Fisheries has apologized to Parliament for her unexplained non-appearance in the House, saying that it would not happen again.
According to the Minister, her absence from the legislature was not to disrespect or deliberately stall the work of Parliament.
Ms Quaye made the unqualified apology when she appeared on the floor of the House to answer questions related to the sector Ministry that were not answered last Thursday, October 24, 2019, because she was not available.
Neither her Deputy, Francis Ato Cudjoe, nor the Chief Director were there to hold the fort for her.
They also did not write officially to inform the House about their absence, for which the Speaker and the House expressed displeasure, furtherance to which the Speaker issued a directive for all Chief Directors, to write to inform the House of the absence of any Minister who would not be available to respond to parliamentary duties.
Mr Frank Annoh-Dompreh, MP for Nsawam-Adoagyiri and Mr Rockson-Nelson Etse Dafeamekpor, MP for South Dayi had filed questions relating to the fisheries sector.
Mr Annoh-Dompreh wanted to know whether a contractor involved in the re-stocking of selected dams and dugouts with four million catfish and fingerlings were paid; and what steps were being taken to ensure that the waiver of tax on aquaculture input materials served as a boost to the industry.
Mr Dafeamekpor also demanded to know when the Tongor-Dzemeni fish landing site will be constructed.
However, on Tuesday, the Minister was present, on the floor of the House, and apologised to the Speaker and her colleagues, for which the Speaker accepted the apology before the Minister proceeded with her responses.
Responding, Ms Quaye stated that Government, in June 2018, as part of efforts to promote aquaculture development, carried out the re-stocking of dams and dugouts with catfish, tilapia and fingerlings.
The re-stocking activity covered 32 dams and 32 communities in the then Northern region.
She said as of 25th January 2019 the three companies that supplied the fingerlings for the re-stocking of dams and dugouts were duly paid and there were receipts to that effect.
Ms Quaye added that the aquaculture sector had a high potential to increase domestic fish production, reduce fish imports and create additional jobs in the fish value chain.
“To harness this potential requires among other things, the provision of adequate incentives to stimulate private sector participation especially in the input supply chain.
“However, one of the main hindrances to the development of the aquaculture industry is the high cost of inputs including; fish feed.”
The Minister said granting tax exemption for feed inputs would not reduce the cost of inputs, but make inputs readily available to operators, adding that, as part of the modernisation of the fisheries sector the Ministry planned to construct 12 fish landing sites and two mini-harbours including Dzemeni in the Volta region.
The Tongor-Dzemeni fish landing site has been included in the second phase of the construction of the landing site.
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