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Reps Begin Moves For Fish Importation Ban

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The House of Representatives has expressed concern over the indiscriminate manner with which frozen fish of questionable quality brought into this in country for consumption.

To that effect, it mandated its committees on Agricultural Production and Services and Water Resources to collaborate with the federal ministry of Agricultural, the Central Bank of Nigeria, the Customs Service and other stakeholders to develop a policy framework for the implementation of a phased ban on importation of fish and fish products so as to create an enabling environment for increased private sector investments in the fisheries sub-sector such that Nigeria can become self-sufficient in fish production within a period of four years.

The decision follows the adoption of a motion calling for a phased ban on the importation of fish and fish products into Nigeria sponsored by Hon. Tasir Olawale Raji wherein he noted that the diversification of the economy away from crude oil through key sectors such as agriculture remains pivotal to the realization of the economic Recovery and Growth Plan of the present administration;

Raji also noted that the fisheries sub-sector, which is a vital component of Nigeria’s Agriculture and the national economy, accounting for about 4% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product, has remained largely underdeveloped despite having the potential to provide cheap sources of protein, income employment and foreign exchange.

“Also aware that Nigeria has over the years, resorted to importation to meet the deficit of about 1.9 million metric tonnes in domestic fish supply at an estimated cost ofn$625 million in foreign exchange,’’ he said.

The lawmaker who worried the escalating demand for foreign exchange for fish importation is not sustainable in the light of huge pressure on the country’s foreign reserves and fluctuating earnings from crude oil, however acknowledged that with the abundant marine and inland fisheries resources comprising 923,768/km land area, 47,934 km continental shelf, 853 is of coastline, network of rivers, flood plain, natural and man-made lakes, Nigeria has all it takes to become self-sufficient in fish production and also become a major hub of fish exportation in the West African Sub region.

The committees are expected to report back to the House in Four weeks.



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