The recently released 2018 National budget has directed State Owned Enterprise, the National Fisheries Authority, to pay more in dividends to the government.
The authority is expected to pay K400 million in 2018; a huge spike from K150 million in previous years.
In a measure to curtail public spending, the 2018 budget tabled and released recently by the O’Neill-Abel government, aims to ensure that spending is targeted at productive sectors that will aid economic growth.
Government agencies, will come under pressure to remit funds.
In fisheries this is raising questions about whether the National Fisheries Authority will continue to have the resources to develop the industry.
The NFA, the non-commercial, regulator and overseer of the development of the Fisheries Sector, will now pay the government K400 million annually in dividends.
“The money belongs to the state. We are only custodians of those monies. The rules of law is you use whatever you can and the surplus to give back to the state and we have been doing that diligently since we started being an Authority.
But I guess the government needed more resources.” – Philip Polon, Deputy Managing Director – National Fisheries Authority
The authority oversees expenditure for key programs including those for local fishermen and to build rural jetties.
It also plays a crucial role in surveillance and monitoring of Illegal, Unregulated and Unreported fishing.
With its dividend to government set to more than double, the NFA will have less money for these projects.