Food Shortage Looms As CBN’s Policy Stifles Indigenous Seafood Operators | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Food Shortage Looms As CBN’s Policy Stifles Indigenous Seafood Operators

Posted: Mar 24, 2016 at 3:00 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Nkasiobi Oluikpe,Lagos

The Association of Indigenous Seafood Stakeholders of Nigeria (ISSN) has raised the alarm over the huge loss of revenues running into billions of Nigeria by Federal and State governments, due to the present inconsistent policies regarding the sector.

The group also said that the nutritional benefits of seafood for Nigerians was already being compromised by the raging 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.

Making the call in Lagos, the National President of the association, Mr. Lucky. O Rasheed, urged President Muhammadu Buhari to urgently intervene in order to save the indigenous fishing industry in Nigeria from extinction.

He said the President should intervene and urge the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, and the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to support the industry.

He said that the allocation letters for annual importation of frozen fish for 2016 has become useless, as indigenous seafood stakeholders are unable to open a single FORM M because of CBN’s rules and regulations, explaining 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 explained that there was an impending crisis in the fishing sector that needs the urgent intervention of the Federal Government, adding that there was also the need for some quick palliatives in order to avert security challenge in the food sector in the country.

The indigenous seafood stakeholder’s association chairman said the allocation letters for annual importation of frozen fishes for 2016 issued by the Department of Fisheries has become useless, saying it was important for the CBN to meet with stakeholders in order to avert the looming food crisis.

According to him, 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 lamented that 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 that whatever was left of fish and seafood in the country will vanish in less than three months from now.

He also described as erroneous, the notion that the country has sufficient resources to locally produce fish in excess of national demand.

“It is clear that the poor masses of this nation are already feeling the pinch of fish scarcity, and this is already beginning to affect the credibility of this administration. We have already recommended about 500,000 metric tons of fish for the year 2016 to the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development,” Rasheed said.