Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources Mr. Joseph Koroma has told newsmen that in just six months after he assumed office Acting Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, he has raised the sum of around Le.11,000,000,000 (Eleven Billion Leones) for the ministry.
Hon. Joseph Koroma made this disclosure on Thursday 19th August 2010 at the weekly Government press briefing held in the conference room of the Ministry of Information and Communication 8th¬†Floor, Youyi Building in Freetown. According to Mr. Koroma, he was assigned to be the Minister of Fisheries in order to help bring sanity and progress with its operations. He said before he took up the stewardship of the ministry, all the ministry was known for was corruption and scandals. This, he said is contrary to the role of the ministry which is the sustainable and rational management of the countryís fisheries and marine resources.
Koroma further noted that the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources is a key component of the Presidentís agenda for change and one of the revenue making ministries of this country which contributes about 10% of the countryís domestic products. He said in just six months, he has generated Eleven Billion Leones and that the last cheque he deposited just yesterday with the Ministryís Accountant was for the sum of US$150,000 (One Hundred and Fifty Thousand United States Dollars) which he said was a ďfantasticĒ development.
He further revealed that his ministry has been the first ministry to set up a desk for the National Revenue Authority (NRA) in their Ministry to make sure that every penny that is generated by his ministry is be accounted for and put into the Government coffers.
The minister further highlighted some of his ministryís other achievements within the six months period, such as giving effect to the implementation of a Twenty-Eight Million US Dollars World Bank project aimed at assisting in restructuring the countryís fisheries and marine department.
He went on that some time last year they collected illegal fishing nets from communities with the mistake of not providing them with appropriate nets. To correct this, the minister went on, Cabinet has approved the sum of US$575,000 (Five Hundred and Seventy-Five Thousand US Dollars) for the Ministry to purchase the correct and appropriate nets that would be given to communities that have given up their bad nets at cost recovery prices.
He furthered that under the World Bank project, there is a provision for substantial amount money for the ministry to purchase nets for people along the coast who depend on fishing as for their survival. Additionally, the minister informed that they have also asked Cabinet to allow the ministry to pay 5% of all fines imposed on illegal vessels arrested to the institutions that led to the arrest of that vessel, and also incentives given to any officer who is directly involved in the arrest of these vessels, so as to give them the incentive to arrest more vessels.
He also informed that the jetties are almost completed that will help to contribute towards improving the quality of fishing in Sierra Leone. Aside the World Bankís assistance, he also informed of assistance from the United Nations FAO Programme to the tune of US$300,000.
After outlining all the successes of the last six months, the Fisheries Minister was in a very upbeat mood as he appealed to journalists to assist to promote the good image of his Ministry and his own work as Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources.
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Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.