The Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development (MoFAD), Elizabeth Naa Afoley Quaye has said that the government is making it possible to add fish feed raw materials to agriculture tax exempted list to support the aquaculture industry.
She said this when the Chamber of Aquaculture Ghana presented the report on the effect of the Covid-19 pandemic on the Aquaculture Industry to her with the theme: Survey on the Impact of Covid-19 (Coronavirus) On Businesses In The Aquaculture Sector of Ghana.
“The president Nana Akuffo Addo has instructed the Minister of Finance to include fish feed raw materials to the list of tax exempted raw materials for agriculture”, she stated.
According to her, the ministry has made an effort to have the tax exemption on aquaculture feed ingredients to be included in the Harmonized System: Ecowas common tariff and other schedules Ghana 2017.
She advised the feed producers to align with beneficiaries of the planting for food and jobs program as they were bound to get cheaper raw materials (ingredients) from them. “The government has assisted them with inputs, their cost of production is now lower so they sell at a lower price than the market rates “, she said.
To curtail the Infectious Spleen and Kidney Virus diseases in fishes, she revealed at the meeting that, she has authorized the second phase of the vaccination of mass immunisation for fish farms and that the government is poised to extend the expansion this time around.
Responding to the recommendation in the survey report on instituting an aquaculture fund, the Minister revealed that the ministry had considered this in the past and it is germane initiative to the Ministry. Lessening the struggle in loan acquisition by the players of the industry, she informed the chamber of aquaculture that MoFAD is consulting with ADB and her Ministry is pushing an agenda for a special loan facility to be designed and extend to the industry.
The Hon. Minister urged the chamber to encourage members to apply for COVID-19 Alleviation Programme Business Support Scheme (CAP BuSS) being implemented by The National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI) to help sustain the members in this difficult time.
She encouraged the chamber to organize workshops and seminars to train and educate fish farmers on biosecurity protocols.
In response to the Minister’s statements, Mr. Jacob Adzikah, the CEO of the Chamber of Aquaculture Ghana thanked the Minister for her warm reception and encouraged the Ministry to put forth policies to ensure the aquaculture industry benefit from the impending African Continental Free Trade Agreement (ACFTA).
Mr. Wisdom Abodakpi 1st Vice Chairman of the chamber, in his presentation of the report to the Minister, commended the government for considering their plights and urged the ministry to push for a facility to help revamp the ailing aquaculture industry as it currently being done to the poultry farmers who are presently accessing GHC500 million loan facility at 8% interest rate from Agricultural Development Bank (ADB).
Other attendees at the meeting included Mrs. Levina Owusu, Chief Director of the Ministry, Mr. Alfred Tetegu, Former Director of Fisheries Commission, Mr. Joseph Chognuru, Director of Finance and Administration of the Ministry and selected Executive Council members of the Chamber of Aquaculture Ghana.