The Nigerian Trawlers Owners Association (NITOA) has urged the Federal Government to support the indigenous fishing industry by allowing its members to access the Export Expansion Grant (EEG).
The association’s President, Akinsola Amire made the appeal yesterday in Lagos.
He said that the grant was created five years ago but since then none of the association’s members had been able to access it for their business expansion.
Amire said that the companies the incentive was meant for were finding it difficult to access it.
“This means there is no government incentive for the fishing industry.
“Most of the fishing companies have gone underground and those of us still operating are barely surviving.
“The industry needs the support of the government for companies to continue being in business,” Amire said.
He said that in 2005, the industry was the fourth largest non-oil foreign exchange earner for Nigeria but the downturn in the economy had impacted seriously on his members.
According to him, the high cost of diesel which accounts for between 80 and 90 per cent of the raw materials used in the industry has continued to affect operations.
The NITOA president said that in 1988, a litre of diesel was 11 Kobo but that today a litre of diesel was sold N160.
“Can you imagine the percentage increase, can we increase the price of fish in that manner?” he asked.
Amire said that whatever the government could do to enable the fishing companies get diesel at a reduced price would be appreciated.
According to him, Nigeria is the only country in the world without a shipping terminal for its fishing industry.
Amire said that the fishing industry needed a regime of stability to improve businesses.
He said that the association was looking up to the new administration for succour.
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