FG Reduces Licenses to Stop Fish Importation by 2022
By Adedapo Adesanya
Following Nigeria’s drive for encouraging local production and consumption, the federal government has embarked on measures that will see the stop to the importation of fish by 2022.
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr Sabo Nanono, during a chat with delegates from the National Fish Association of Nigeria (NFAN), said the country will begin to look inward to improve fisheries and aquaculture.
Speaking to the NFAN delegation led by its president, Mr Gabriel Ogunsanya in Abuja recently, he said that the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration had instituted measures to actualise the plan that included reducing the number of licenses approved for imports.
According to the Minister, if the country pursued the huge potential in fisheries and aquaculture, this will bring about local consumption and export, bringing in more revenue for the government and local investors.
He used the opportunity to call upon other stakeholders for partnerships to ensure that there was minimal need for importation into the country.
“Last year, we issued about one million licenses. This year, we virtually cut it into half and I hope next year, we will further cut it so that in the next two years we may rely entirely on what we produce here.
“Since you are producers and probably processors, it is important to take note of your development in the fish sector towards this,” he said.
He further added; “In the next years, probably we will not allow the importation of fish into the country.
“I know people are saying we can only rear catfish, tilapia and a few other species but most of the white fish they do not do well here.
“But I know for a fact that the consumption of catfish is very high in this country both the fresh one as well as the smoked one.
“In fact, I was made to understand that it now has an export market. So, if you put your head together and work hard, the future is very bright for fish producers in this country,” he said.
On his part, the President of NFAN, Mr Gabriel Ogunsanya, called for assistance in some areas such as involving members of the association in training programmes of the ministry and other relevant agencies.
“We need a letter of introduction to CBN, NIRSAL, BOI, BOA for timely intervention to boost the fish industry production business in Nigeria.
They used the opportunity to call for loan and credit facilities for the purpose of business expansion, adding that the government needed to reactivate the dormant fishery terminals, fish markets, hatcheries and develop broodstock bank for identified fish species and privatise them for utilisation.
Mr Ogunsanya equally urged the minister to direct research institutes to embark on demand-driven researches to benefit the entire industry and called for measures to be put in place to support commercial fish production from along the value chain for both local and export markets.
The NFAN President also urged the minister to involve the association in the policy formulations for the fish industry.
The Agriculture Minister then assured the association of the government’s readiness to assist where necessary in order to move the industry forward.