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Fish scarcity imminent in Nigeria, stakeholders raise alarm

The Association of Indigenous Seafood Stakeholders of Nigeria has raised  alarm over the loss of revenue running into billions of naira by the federal and…

The Association of Indigenous Seafood Stakeholders of Nigeria has raised  alarm over the loss of revenue running into billions of naira by the federal and state governments, due to the present inconsistent policies in the sector.
The group noted that the nutritional benefits for Nigerians was already being compromised by the scarcity of fish and other seafood, while hundreds of thousands of jobs were daily being lost because of the government’s induced challenges indigenous seafood operators in the country were grappling with.
The group urged President Muhammadu Buhari to urgently intervene in order to save the indigenous fishing industry in Nigeria from extinction by urging the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to support the industry.
Speaking in Lagos, National President of the association, Mr. L. O Rasheed, said the allocation letters for annual importation of frozen fish for 2016 has become inconsequential , as indigenous seafood stakeholders are unable to open a single FORM M because of the CBN’s rules and regulations.
According to him, over 80 percent of the cold room in the country has been closed down, while more than 80 percent of staff in the fish sector have lost their jobs, adding whatever was left of fish and seafood in the country will vanish in less than three months from now.
Explaining there was an impending serious crisis in the fishing sector in Nigeria that call for the urgent intervention of the federal government, Rasheed noted there was  need for some quick palliatives in order to avert a security challenge in the food sector in the country.
He said the nation’s territorial waters cannot sustain the production of needed sea and frozen food due to several reasons, adding that the inability of both manufacturers and importers to secure the required CBN’s approval has resulted in zero utilization of the allocated quota.
Rasheed noted that if these restrictions were not relaxed, the first and second quarter quota would also not be utilized.
The resultants effects of these bottlenecks, he added, would be acute scarcity of fish by the end of the month.
He described as erroneous, the notion within certain government circles that the country has sufficient resources to locally produce fish in excess of national demand.

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