USAID and partners launch “Fishers Future Plan”

Accra, The USAID, through its Feed the Future Sustainable Fisheries Management Project (SFMP), has partnered four service providers to launch the Fishers Future Plan, an insurance scheme designed to cater for the needs of the fisher folks.

The Fisher Insurance Plan, which is to be rolled out in 2018, had been successfully piloted in three fishing communities, and it would help beneficiaries to save for retirement and provide protection against financial risk associated with death or permanent disability.

The launch, held at Mantse Agbonaa in Accra, brought together fisher folks from the Central, Western, Volta and Greater Accra regions as well as representatives from Vodafone, Millennium Insurance, UT Life Insurance, BIMA and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to witness the ceremony.

The fisher plan, to be delivered on the Vodafone mobile money platform, encourages fisher folks to save between one and three Ghana cedis a day over three to five years period.

Among the packages the plan offers are the opportunity to withdraw 30 per cent of funds deposited after 11 months, interest earned on savings month after month; and direct links with Vodafone cash wallets to facilitate easy payment.

Officials said during the initial pilot phase 3,000 customers were enrolled for the plan and that more than 10,000 more fisher folks were expected to access the micro-insurance plan by 2018.

Mr Francis Kingsley Ato Cudjoe, the Deputy Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, in a speech read for him, said insurance was one of the best tools to help reduce or eliminate risk associated with fishing on the unstable sea, which included a life, a canoe or a gear lost at sea or on the lake.

He, therefore, urged the fishers to sign onto the financial plans that had been endorsed by the Ministry to ensure their financial security in times of disability, a retirement or even death.

Mr Cudjoe commended the USAID and the other partners for harnessing the power of the mobile money tool to empower the fishers through the Fishers Future Plan, which would provide microfinance to empower them to save and better their livelihoods.

He however gave the assurance that the Ministry would continue to work with all stakeholders to ensure that the fisheries resources were sustainably managed.

Mr Kofi Andoh, the Head of Supervision, National Insurance Authority (NIA), said the work of the fishermen was full of risks and so it was laudable the insurance scheme was initiated to protect them in their daily activities.

The NIA had also collaborated with the German Development Cooperation to build the capacity of the industry and introduce suitable regulations to promote and develop micro-insurance as a means of providing access to insurance for all, especially the informal sector, he said.

Mr Andoh said the last count in 2015 about 7.5 million Ghanaians in the informal sector were covered by micro-insurance, which was translated to about 29 per cent of the population.

He said the Government’s Financial Inclusion Strategy also sought to improve the coverage to over 50 per cent by 2020.

This is why the NIC takes great pleasure in the launch of this product. This is a product that is targeted at a market that is not traditionally well served by the insurance sector, he said.

He said since technology came with its own set of risks, the NIC had, therefore, developed and would soon issue the Mobile Insurance Market Conduct Rules, which aimed at mitigating the risks and thereby protecting the consumer.

Mr Victor Aggrey-Fynn, a Director with UT Life Insurance, said the Plan was unique and the first of its kind in Ghana, with attractive insurance packages.

Nii Ayi Kai III, Akumadjie Mantse and a Member of the Ga Traditional Council, expressed gratitude to USAID and its partners for the initiative, which would provide the same benefits to the informal sector as in the formal.

He advised the fisher folks to sign unto the Insurance Plan so they could secure their future.

Source: Ghana News Agency