Illegal fish importation and smuggling cost Nigeria N9bn each year
(Ecofin Agency) - Each year, Nigeria loses N9 billion to illegal fish importation and smuggling. Denouncing the practice, the Association of Indigenous Sea Food Stakeholders called unto the government to penalize all those responsible for the practice as they should.
According to the national president of the association, Lamina Rasheed, who made the announcement on April 12 in Abuja, illegal fish importation and smuggling hampers local production. Indeed, while legal actors spend millions of naira in import tax, smugglers pay next to nothing in taxes and sell their products at unfair prices.
Rasheed recommends that immediate action is taken against the smugglers. “Until they arrest somebody and apply the penalties, the perpetrators will not stop,” he said. He also indicated that most of the fish products smuggled into the country passed through the Republic of Benin, neighbor to Nigeria.
Let’s recall that the government, in order to end illegal importations of fish, promised last month to establish a committee which will deal accordingly with smugglers and illegal importers. However, the committee is yet to be seen. “The government said they will set up a monitoring committee but up till now, we have not seen any committee”.
Nigeria produces about 1.13 million metric tons of fish per year, for a demand of 3.32 million. Also, fishery contributes to 0.48% of the country’s GDP while agriculture on which the government counts on to diversify the recession-hit economy contributes 20.24% of this value.