May 18, 2015 By Jariatu S. Bangura
The Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources has told members of the Fisheries Committee in Parliament that his ministry generated Le11.5bn revenue in the first quarter of 2015.
Alieu Pat-Sowe informed lawmakers in the fisheries committee that in 2014, the ministry could only collect Le10.5bn revenue, which he blamed on the Ebola outbreak, which started in May last year.
He said the ministry promotes good governance by way of co-management practices, establishing of sustainable monitoring control and surveillance procedures, as well as rendering support to commercial fisheries development, which has led to a significant increase in revenue derived from fishery and the sustainable supply of fish to the local market.
“We, under the Fisheries Ministry, are able to help the country with the provision of fish for quarantined homes and the country as whole despite the challenges we faced as a ministry. It has not been easy for us but we want retention to push forward and to do more. Our objectives are sometimes difficult to meet but we are trying our best to reach them,” he said.
Minister Pat-Sowe maintained that they are currently working with PRECON food audit firm to enhance the quality and standard of fish handling, which could help Sierra Leone meet minimum requirements to export fish and fishery products to the European Union and other international markets.
He maintained that in order to reverse the challenge of not exporting fish to the European Union and other international markets, government continues to support PRECON to upgrade the implementation of necessary official controls for fish handling, processing and basic hygiene, in order that the country meet EU minimum export requirement.
Earlier, Chairman of the committee, Hon. Patrick Foyah, said the purpose of the meeting was to interact with officials of the ministry and to know the current status of the ministry and challenges, if any.
He said the fishing sector was very important to the country’s development, thus activities undertaken by them should be known by the committee as part of their oversight functions.
Hon. Dauda J.B. Kallon commended the ministry for their good initiatives, but raised concern that when fish are exported they are branded in their own name and not Sierra Leone’s which, according to the ruling party lawmaker, was worrisome.