GITA ‘rejects’ $53.8m WARFP loan facility

The Ghana Industrial Trawlers Association (GITA) has sent a strong signal to government to wean itself of the World Bank’s West African Regional Fisheries Management Programme (WARFP) loan facility.

According to the group, government after implementing a World Bank US$53.8 million facility aimed at sustaining the fishery industry, has grossly failed to solve the myriad challenges bedeviling the sector.

In a meeting with the Parliamentary Select Committee on Food Agriculture and Cocoa Affairs on Wednesday, geared at identifying and solving the challenges hampering the sector, GITA emphasized how the internationally sourced loan has rather deepen their woes instead of improving the state of the industry.

The West Africa Regional Fisheries Programme (WARFP) aims at improving the sustainable management of fish and aquatic resources in the West Africa sub-region.

Speaking to on the sidelines of the meeting, an industry player who pleaded for strict anonymity said, “WARFP has failed to consider the interest of industry. It has rather resulted in the impositions of sanctions leading to revenue losses to the sector and the state.”

The entrepreneur added: “The industry has not seen any tangible benefits even though the project is about winding up in a few weeks. So sincerely, we don’t find it needful to access such loan facilities again. Government should help us to access loans from local banks with ease; that is what will help us.”

On that score, the business executive urged government to take appropriate steps to encourage indigenous financial institutions to support the sector, as the president steers his economic transformational agenda on “Ghana Beyond Aid”.

Another challenge impeding the progress of the industry, understands, includes the high operational cost.

“Our challenges are compounded by high prices of the Marine Gas Oil, inputs and taxes, so government must find ways to address these issues to make the sector attractive to others who are seeking to invest in fishing in Ghana,” the group added.

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