By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The House of Representatives on Tuesday passed a motion to critically look into the issuance of licences for fish importation in Nigeria.
At the plenary yesterday, a lawmaker from kebbi State, Mr Gaza Jonathan Gbefwi, called the attention of his colleagues to this issue in a motion.
He warned that the present system has the ability to adversely affect the fishing industry in Nigeria in not quickly checked.
The legislator also argued that the present situation could put the health of consumers at risk as not all the imported fish can be certified as healthy.
Mr Gbefwi emphasised that the present process of issuing licences to fish importers in the country should be discontinued if the federal government is serious in diversifying the economy of the nation.
He called on the authorities to give indigenous fishermen incentives to enable them upgrade their craft.
During the debate on Tuesday, Mr Yusuf Lasun, while making his contribution, stated that the attitude of government shows that Nigerian policy makers were not ready to imbibe what it actually takes to make agriculture prosperous in the country.
According to the Deputy Speaker of the House of Reps, the way things are done currently cannot let agriculture make the farmers rich.
Also making his contribution to the motion, Mr Sunday Adepoju said there were lots of double standards going on in policies governing agriculture.
He stipulated that the necessary sacrifice required to allow a self-sufficient agricultural sector that can grow into an export/profit oriented sector is not being applied.
Mr Nicholas Ossai, on his part, sought to know whether the supply of fish can meet the demand, and if so, is import not the only answer? He urged the committee do a thorough job in its enquiry.
Responding, another lawmaker, Mr Mohammed Monguno, ascertained there is a big deficit between the supply and demand of fishery needs, saying this has brought about a rise in the importation of fish in the country.
According to him, this is due to the neglect of fish farming in favour of crop and animal farming. He, however, stated that he was aware of ongoing efforts to address the issue.
Mr Wale Raji, who also spoke on the matter, stated that he had moved a similar motion couple of years back, but nothing came out of it. He therefore, urged the relevant committee to ensure it takes appropriate and necessary actions this time around.
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