Liberia: Ruling Unity Party Reportedly Pushing for Glassco’s Removal to Tap into NaFAA Donor Funds

MONROVIA – The National Fisheries and Aquaculture Authority (NaFAA) was quite dormant, with minimal attention given to the fisheries sector, despite its latent potential to be vibrant.

However, this vibrancy, which has now attracted significant local and international attention, was made possible after Ms. Emma Glassco took over as Director General in 2018.

Established by an Act of National Legislation on October 9, 2017, NaFAA contributes approximately 10% to Liberia’s gross domestic product (GDP). The country has a total land area of about 111 370 km2, with 15 050 km2 (14 percent) comprising wetlands. There are extensive swamp areas and numerous coastal lagoons, including Lake Piso, one of West Africa’s largest lagoons. With an Atlantic coastline spanning about 570 km, and a continental shelf averaging 34 km in width, Liberia possesses about 20 000 km2 of continental shelf fishing grounds.

The sector currently fulfills about 65 percent of the country’s animal protein needs, as the livestock program is still undergoing revitalization. Fisheries contribute approximately 3.2 percent to Liberia’s GDP, creating job and income opportunities, thereby generating revenue for the government.

The sector’s potential has not gone unnoticed, with the World Bank and other international bodies continuing to invest millions into it. In September 2021, the World Bank approved new financing to improve fisheries sector management, enhance the livelihoods of targeted beneficiaries, and increase Government revenues. The Liberia Sustainable Management of Fisheries Project (LSMFP), funded by the International Development Association (IDA) with $40 million ($20 million grant and $20 million credit), aims to improve conditions for fishermen and women, increase value addition for export, and address the economic vulnerability of Liberia to climate change and food security.

The project aims to support the establishment of an industrial and an artisanal fish landing site at the Mesurado Pier in Monrovia, along with other artisanal landing sites in Margibi, Maryland, Grand Bassa, Sinoe, and Grand Kru counties. Additionally, it will support aquaculture development and strengthen management and governance of the fisheries sector in Liberia, enhancing human and institutional capacity, and improving policies, strategies, institutional, and legal frameworks.

The past two years have witnessed a significant effort by the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Authority (NaFAA) and international donors to improve practices across Liberia’s nine coastal counties. The government agency responsible for fisheries began distributing “thread nets” last year, although they have encountered resistance among local fishermen.

Last week, the Liberian capital witnessed an unprecedented protest against the Director General of the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Authority (NaFAA) by the workers who claimed she has been practicing bad labor. Their protest, however, came right after the Director General, Emma Glasco, was reportedly notified by the Unity Party-led government of their intentions to have her replaced.

FrontPageAfrica would later find out that the protest against Madam Glasco who has two more years in her tenure at NaFAA was politically-motivated by some members of the ruling government with the sole purpose of having access to donor funds amid ongoing construction projects.

Among these ongoing donor-funded projects include US$88 million secured by NaFAA in grants and loan for the construction of fishing port and landing facilities for local fisherfolks across coastal counties. The cost of this ongoing project is valued at US$50 million.

There is also a pending US$20 million construction of a laboratory and dry stock through the OPEC International Funds. There is also an ongoing construction of a fiber glass board – a World Bank initiate to promote a sustainable semi-industrial fishing economy for Liberia, among others.

The post Liberia: Ruling Unity Party Reportedly Pushing for Glassco’s Removal to Tap into NaFAA Donor Funds appeared first on FrontPageAfrica.