THE government has allocated 100m/- loan support to artisanal fisheries as part of long term plans to increase rural incomes and boost social development through the country’s emerging economic sector.
Deputy Minister of Livestock and Fisheries Mr Abdallah Ulega, told the National Assembly here yesterday that the fund had been created to support small-scale fisheries across the country to access modern fishing gears.
The minister was reacting to a question posed by Mpanda Rural MP Mr Moshi Kakoso. The lawmaker had sought the government’s reaction to reports that small-scale fishermen dependent on Lake Tanganyika as their major source of livelihood had poor fishing gears, which translated to low productivity.
“The government has been urging fishermen and other stakeholders in the fishing industry to use modern fishing gears to improve their incomes and boost social development,” he said.
He explained that the ministry, through its Fisheries Education and Training Agency, FETA, was implementing a strategy that includes rehabilitating Kibirizi Fishing warehouse in Kigoma to the capacity of building modern fishing boats.
The deputy minister said the government was also re inforcing the 2007 VAT law which, among other things, granted tax exemption for outboard engines, twines and fishing gear accessories.
During the financial year 2015/16, Mpanda District Council built two fishing boats worth 40m/-, which were given to Chanika and Zangara small-scale fishing groups in the district.
The groups were tasked to repay at least 1.250m/- at three- month intervals. The ministry pointed out, however, that it was earnestly figuring out how best to curb illegal fishing in various parts of the country
. Buyungu MP Mr Kasuku Bilago (CHADEMA) won dered why the government had not embarked on preventing the importation of illegal fishing nets with the same zeal as it was tackling narcotic drugs.
Mr Bilago explained that small scale fishermen caught with illegal fishing nets subjected to hefty penalties. “These are nets that were imported through legal means and the government collected all the required tax,” he said.
The deputy minister informed the august House, however, that not all the nets used in deep seas were appropriate in lakes. He said some businessmen were allowed to import nets for deep sea fishing but diverted them to lake fishermen.