Importers of stockfish under the aegis of First Premier Stockfish Importers Association has called on the Federal Government have called on the Federal Government to lift the ban on Foreign Exchange for the importation of stockfish and stockfish heads into Nigeria.
The group also on the government to remove Stockfish from the list of 43 items banned from accessing Forex.
Speaking at the ongoing Norwegian Seafood Council Seminar in Lagos, President of the group, Mr. Gregory Illobinso said that the need to have Stockfish delisted from the list of prohibited imports cannot be overemphasized.
Illobinso also said that Stockfish was not originally on the list adding that it’s addition came as a shock and has made impossible to access Foreign exchange to carry out their trade.
He explained that value chain of the Stockfish trade has also been distorted as people involved in the chain have lost their jobs while Nigerians are losing their major source of protein.
He said: “The inclusion of Stockfish in the list of prohibited items has brought untold hardship to importers, inclusion of stockfish on the list could be attributed to low volume of Stockfish import.
“The low volume of import has also resulted in low level of protein source for Nigerians.
“The Federal Government should revisit the list and remove Stockfish from the list so that we do not loose only the economic benefits in the value chain but also the delicacy.”
Illobinso also called for the reduction on the duty payable on the commodity from 20 percent to 10 percent with a view to resuscitating the dying Stockfish trade.
Similarly, Director, West- and Central Africa · Norwegian Seafood Council Trond Kostveit said that stockfish and other types of fishes were not included until about two years ago.
Kostveit also said that the inclusion of stockfish on the list has negatively affected the volume of import to Nigeria.
He disclosed that only about 8,000 metric tons was imported against 9,000 metric tons in 2019.
“Initially, imported pelagic fish and stockfish were not included on this list, however, fish was later included.
“With the inclusion of fish on the list, it automatically affected the importation of stockfish and stockfish heads.”