Fisheries minister vows to tackle corruption
FISHERIES minister John Maneniaru has vowed to seriously deal with corruption within the ministry and remove officers found to be corrupt.
He was speaking in parliament on Thursday.
“Fisheries is one of the important government ministries capable of generating huge revenue for the government,” Mr Maneniaru told parliament.
“I would like to see changes and progress made within the ministry,” he added.
Over the years, the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources came under heavy public criticisms over how some of its officers deal with licence issues.
There were claims of officers issuing fishing licences in return for favours from fishing companies.
Recent criticisms of the ministry were over the controversial bech-de-mer issue.
Mr Maneniaru recently ordered an investigation into the issue and said he’s still waiting for the outcome.
“I’m still waiting for the report from the investigation,” he said.
“I will take appropriate action against any officers implicated in the report,” he added.
The minister assured the nation that the bech-de-mer issue is not over yet.
Meanwhile, he thanked the government for accepting his ministry’s submission to the 2015 national budget.
The ministry was allocated $16,457,016.00 for its recurrent budget and $7,150,250.00 for its development budget.
“I’m happy of what is available and given to me,” Mr Maneniaru said.
The minister also highlighted two main areas which fisheries policies were derived and focused on. They are off-shore and in-shore fisheries (coastal fisheries).
He said that the paramount objectives are to:
(1) Better manage our fisheries,
(2) Realised our fisheries potentials and opportunities in a tangible way to benefit our people and economy, and
(3) Consistent with sustainable management of our fisheries for our future and children’s future.
Mr Maneniaru also told parliament that illegal unrecording and unregulated fishing activities in our Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) resulted in the European Union (EU) according us a yellow card.
“This is an urgent issue for us as the consequences are critical and indeed severe for our fisheries and operations,” he said.
“But I’m optimistic we will gain our green card back when procedural requirements are satisfied,” Mr Maneniaru said.
By AATAI JOHN