The newly appointed Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Joseph Koroma has expressed his desire to streamline his ministry with a view to ensuring effective and efficient service delivery in the fisheries sector.
Addressing members of the Sierra Leone Industrial Fishing Company Association at the conference hall of the ministry, Mr. Koroma thanked them for the important role they are playing in ensuring that fish which is regarded as the basic source of protein is supplied to the populace and the tremendous contributions they are making to improve the welfare and economy of the nation.
“Many out there may not recognize you as such but I tell you for free that you are making a tremendous contribution to the health and wealth of the population” he added.
The Fisheries Minister opined that public perception of the ministry is still negative despite the fact that it is such an important arm, contributing between ten to eleven percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Products, He disclosed plans to introduce reforms that would help transform the sector into a viable and productive entity.
The Minister underscored the need for permanent dialogue between his ministry and representatives of the Industrial Fishing Companies with a view to promoting the aims and objectives of the two organizations. He assured the fishing agents of an enabling environment and a level playing field for all in accordance with the Fisheries Act while entreating them to keep the public informed about their activities so as to promote their vision and change people’s negative perception about their activities.
Speaking on behalf of her colleagues, the Vice President of the Association Annie Joy Turay congratulated the minister on his appointment and wished him success in his new assignment. She outlined some of the constraints facing them especially those bordering on the enforcement of the Fisheries Management and Development Act 1994 and called for a review of some of its provisions.
Mrs. Joy Turay pledged their continued contribution to national development and appealed for measures that would encourage more investors into the country. She called for a close collaboration between them and the ministry and hoped the meeting would serve as the beginning of fruitful interactions between the ministry and their association.
A member of the association, Reginald Harlston thanked the ministry for providing an opportunity for them to channel their concerns in a friendly and interactive manner and hoped President Koroma’s desire to ensure that Sierra Leoneans serving as fishing agents graduate into fish vessels owners is realized.
Issues bordering on payment of landing fees, number of institutions to monitor pre-license inspection and transshipment, delay in processing of licenses, discharge and request for and packaging materials among others, were also discussed.