The Treasurer, National Fish Association of Nigeria (NFAN), Chibunna Ubawuike, says plans by the Federal Government to ban fish importation will save the country over $1billion US dollars. Ubawuike, who made the disclosure in an interview with newsmen in Abuja, said the association was prepared to work with the Federal Government to actualize the ban. According to him, the ban will not only save Nigeria over one billion dollars, but will also create opportunities for local fish farmers and other stakeholders in the value chain to thrive.
He said: “The ban on fish importation will save Nigeria foreign exchange up to $1billion expended in importation of fish. If we are self-sufficient in fish production that money will be saved and Nigeria will not have to expend it any longer, instead it will be ploughed into other critical areas of the economy. Fishery has huge prospects in Nigeria. Nigeria is the largest country in Africa in terms of population and the largest exporter of ornamental fish.
Ubawuike, a member of the Presidential Committee on Fisheries and Aquaculture Development between 2003 and 2005, said the ban was achievable with the right measures in place. He said, “In 2003 when we were in the presidential committee, Nigeria became the largest producer of catfish in Africa. We submitted our report, drew up the fishery policy document for Nigeria because prior to that time we did not have one.
“So, the current government’s determination to reposition agriculture and particularly the fisheries and aquaculture subsector is a right step in the right direction. We in NFAN are prepared to ensure the end to fish importation,” he added.
Ubawuike, who is also a former President of the Ornamental Fish Association of Nigeria, dispelled beliefs that Nigeria could not grow cat fish and tilapia, saying a variety of fish species could be grown in the country. Vanguard