The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, has denied that he authorised a blanket ban on fish importation, saying new policies on fish importation are, however, coming in January 2014.
“We hereby emphasise that the claim projecting a total ban on fish import is not true and did not originate from the minister, who has emphasised that at no time did he announce a total ban on the importation of frozen fish into the country.
“A responsible minister will not stand idly and watch Nigeria’s fisheries sub-sector plunge down the drain while financing other nations’ economies through indiscriminate importation, when the home economy suffers further devastation,” Special Adviser to the Minister on Media, Dr Olukayode Oyeleye, said this in a statement.
He said a circular dated October 29, 2013 which stated that all “Bills of Lading must be dated on or before October 30, 2013 and the fish cargo landed not later than December 31, 2013, did not ban fish importation. It was directed at having a clear-cut demarcation between frozen fish imported under the old regime and the new regulation coming into effect in January, 2014.”
He added that the decline in Nigeria’s fisheries sub-sector had become obvious for many years. Since 2005, the Federal Government had observed the escalating foreign exchange demand for fish imports, in which the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) noticed an unsustainable surge in the demand for foreign exchange for fish imports by various companies operating in Nigeria.
Oyeleye said the trend had continued unabated and must not be allowed to continue unchecked.