The Federal Government has expressed its willingness to reposition the fisheries and aquaculture sub-sector for the realization of a prosperous and sustainable blue economy sector.

Giving the assurance in Lagos on Wednesday, 15th May, 2024 at the 2024 Ministerial Stakeholders Engagement with Indigenous Fish Importers and Exporters Association and members of the Nigerian Fish Dealers Association, Producers and Processors, the Honourable Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, H.E, Adegboyega Oyetola identified Fisheries and Aquaculture as a key component of the blue economy, hence, a major focus of the Federal Ministry of the Marine and Blue Economy action plan.

The Hon. Minister explained that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s vision for the sector is lofty and, with the creation of the Federal Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy, is demonstrative of this administration commitment to the sector.

This resolve, according to the Minister, “has further been reinforced by the movement of the Fisheries and Aquaculture Department to the Federal Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy earlier this year.”

“This is instructive as all issues pertaining to the administration of Fisheries and its related activities now fall under the purview of the Ministry,” Oyetola said.

On the importance of the key stakeholders interactive session, the Minister said: ” We recognize the notable contributions of Fish Importers in bridging the local demand gaps and the valuable boost exporters deliver through the export of our unique species to international markets”.

“The welfare of Nigerian citizens is closely tied to the availability of quality seafood products. It is for this reason that the Ministry considers your group a major partner in its pursuit to enhance our country’s sufficiency within a sustainable framework, “Oyetola added.

He assured them of the Federal Government’s commitment to create an enabling and conducive business environment that will promote the growth of the sub-sector.

In his opening remarks, the Parmanet Secretary, Federal Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy, Oloruntola Olufemi Michael told stakeholders that the engagement was specifically organized to rob minds with them and seek their feedback and contributions towards fast tracking the attainment of desired ideals in the country’s maritime sector.

According to the Permanent Secretary, the depth of understanding demonstrated by the present administration regarding the relevance of Marine and Blue Economy to the nation’s development is not in doubt, with the creation of the Ministry.

Outlining some of the challenges affecting the industry, stakeholders on behalf of Indigenous Fish Importers and Exporters Association lamented on the issue of high cost of feed production due to high cost of diesel and petrol as well as the exchange rate, which according to them, is affecting their business. They, therefore, called on the Federal Government to intervene by providing duty waiver on import.

Furthermore, they spoke on difficulties in the areas of smuggling and unregulated fishing activities at the nation’s border, thus flooding the market with smuggled catfishes. They hence urged the government to help bring an end to the illegal cat fish trade in the country.

Muhammad Tahir Zakari MFR
AD( Press & PR)

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