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In Sierra Leone, SPU Experts Inspect Shenge/Bonthe Fish Landing Sites.
Jan 5, 2010, 15:44
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A high profile delegation comprising staff of the Strategy and Policy Unit from the Office of the President and the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources has concluded a one day inspection tour of fish landing facilities under construction at Shenge in the Moyamba district and Bonthe district.

Jointly funded by the Government of Sierra Leone and African Development Bank, (ADB), under the Artisanal Fisheries Development Project (AFDEP), the project which is also being implemented in Goderich and Tombo is expected to provide the necessary facilities that would ensure growth in the fisheries sector.

A view of the fish landing site at Shenge

The visit started at shenge in the Kagboro Chiefdom,Moyamba District and ended in Bonthe with a conducted tour of the facilities including jetties, generator houses, locker rooms, administrative offices and fish processing facilities.

Addressing beneficiaries at Shenge, the Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Haja Afsatu Kabba admonished them to put aside party politics and work towards promoting the objective of the project. She informed them about World Bank’s decision to boost the fisheries sector and reaffirmed government’s commitment to streamline her ministry for effective service-delivery.

Afsatu and entourage at shenge

“We will maintain our resolve to ensure sanity in the fisheries and marine sector” she said while admonishing beneficiaries to pay back their micro credit loans and refrain from illegal and improper fishing methods.

She said the purpose of their visit was to actualize president’s Koroma vision to promote sustainable, effective and responsible fishing practices, adding that plans are afoot to establish similar facilities in other parts of Sierra Leone.

Afsatu and team inspecting the new jetty in Bonthe

Haja Kabba described infrastructural development as crucial to the sustainability of the project and assured them of government’s commitment to rehabilitating roads to the project site so as to prevent post –harvest and other losses.

In Bonthe, where the delegation was received by Fisheries Ministry’s Permanent, Secretary, Paul Sandy and local dignitaries, the minister used the occasion to visit the island’s dilapidated NPA Power house and called for its rehabilitation to enable it support the on- going fisheries project.

Questions and answers session in Bonthe.

The co-coordinator of the Strategy and Policy Unit , Abdulrhaman Turay, Energy and infrastructure adviser, Prof. Victor Strasser –king and the Growth Sectors Adviser of the unit, Herbert McLeod curiously examined and interviewed technical consultants and contractors with regard to the on-going project which should have been completed at the end of last December.

The experts who expressed concern over the slow pace at which the project was going, urged them to redouble their efforts so as to make it viable and intimated that their mission was to inspect, evaluate the on-going work and make recommendations to the Head of State, regarding their findings.

In her welcome address, the newly elected paramount chief of Kagboro Chiefdom Madam Lenga Koroma described the project as a symbol of prosperity for her people and expressed gratitude to government for the initiative.

Chairperson of the Parliamentary Oversight Committee on fisheries, Veronica Kadi  Sesay pledged their determination to promote the welfare of fishing communities and underscored the need to put in place measures that would discourage illegal fishing methods.

She urged the beneficiaries to cooperate and ensure the project is fully implemented. She hoped the report of the visiting experts would reflect the needs of the beneficiaries.

The Director of Artisanal Fisheries Development Project MFMR, Alpha Bangura desribed the project as unique and referred to the visitors as a team of experts with wealth of experience.

Problems including lack of enough man power, transportation, access to construction sites and inclement weather conditions were highlighted by Site Engineer of MODCON, Mohamed Yayah Sesay and colleagues during the question and answer sessions of the programme. They appealed for an extension to enable them fully implement the project.

© Copyright by Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.

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