….Say unrestricted importation has turned Nigeria into dumping ground
By Musa Adamu
The House of Representatives on yesterday at the plenary have sought a phased ban on the importation of fish into the country in a bid to boost local production of fish.
It also said such a ban would encourage local fish farmers to support the federal government’s economic diversification policy.
Lawmakers passed the resolution after debating a motion moved by Mr. Tasir Olawale-Raji.
The session, which was presided over by the Speaker, Mr. Yakubu Dogara, also observed that unrestricted importation had turned Nigeria into a dumping ground for all manner of fish, some of which were harmful to human life.
Arguing his motion, the sponsor, Hon. Olawale-Raji, said the House notes that the diversification of the economy away from crude oil through key sectors such as agriculture, remains pivotal to the realisation of the economic recovery and growth plan of the present administration.
He said the House also notes that the fisheries sub-sector, which is a vital component of Nigeria’s agriculture and the national economy, accounting for about 4 per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product, had remained largely under-developed, despite having the potential to provide cheap sources of protein, income, employment and foreign exchange.
He said further said the House was aware that the local production from artisanal fishing, aquaculture and industrial captures estimated at about 800,000 metric tonnes, accounts for only 30 percent of the total annual fish demand estimated at 2.7million metric tonnes.
He said the House was also aware that Nigeria had, 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 of $625 million in foreign exchange annually.
He said: “The House further notes that the escalating demand for foreign exchange for fish importation is not sustainable in the light of the huge pressure on the country’s foreign reserves and fluctuating earnings from crude oil.“