The Tilapia and Aquaculture Developers Association of Nigeria (TADAN) yesterday decried the exemption of Tilapia, a farmed fish species, from the Federal Government’s import prohibition list.
The association’s National President, Mr Remi Ahmed, expressed the association’s displeasure with list in an interview with The Tide’s source in Lagos.
Ahmed said that the omission from the official prohibition list by the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) would send a negative signal to the international community.
He said the Nigerian Tilapia farming model was currently being appreciated globally and this would mean unregulated importation of the commodity to retard local production.
“This is coming when the international community is happy with the level of work done in Nigeria’s Tilapia sub-sector.
“Within the short period Tilapia was introduced to Nigeria, we have been able to develop and produce Tilapia feed within the country that is better than the ones used in most African countries.
“Let government stop importation of Tilapia into the country because afterwards, the smuggled Tilapia will not allow local producers to get ready-made markets.
“Restriction of Tilapia importation is not even enough, we want an outright ban because we are producing a lot and we can meet the Tilapia deficit if given the right playing field, ” Ahmed said.
The president also told The Tide’s source that he had over 10 tonnes of farmed Tilapia stored in cold rooms because the smuggled ones were crashing the market price, making it seem like locally produced ones were expensive.
On Tilapia production in Nigeria, Ahmed said that there were bigger farmers across the country and this development would chase entrants and discourage current producers in the long run.
“I have nothing less than 10 tonnes of Tilapia waiting for delivery and I am one of the smallest producers, there is Ejide Farms and others, our fishes are staying too long with us.
“Some of us have invested so much money in the facilities where we farm Tilapia, so, do we remove them now and start doing what? The cost of power and others are serious challenges, so this is not encouraging.
“These importers of the commodity are enjoying grants and other incentives from their countries which is why when the fish is brought here it is very cheap.
“Here, we do not have any sort of support from government, and this is the height of it,” he said.
Ahmed said that in 2017, the NCS intercepted a 40-foot container containing Tilapia and during the briefing informed Nigerians that Tilapia was banned.
Contributing, the Vice-President of TADAN, Mr Nurudeen Tiamiu, told the source that the government should collaborate real stakeholders in the sector to fashion out a roadmap to develop farmed fish in the country.
Tiamiu said that the aquaculture sector had been besieged by people who were not known fish farmers, making and taking decisions on behalf of the real time producers.
Tiamiu said: “I see no reason why the Ministry of Finance is making policies on fish import, while the Ministry of Agriculture is not doing anything for stakeholders.
“We have a bunch of stakeholders, you have not met with them and have not seen their capabilities in production and that means the Nigerian government do not understand the issues to be addressed when it comes to food safety.
“We do not even know the quantity of Tilapia needed for consumption, we only know that we have 15 million metric tonnes of fish deficit”, he said
Traders Protest FG’s Move To Restore Festac Town
The move by the Federal Government to restore Festac Town in Lagos to its original status has sparked up protest among traders occupying Agboju Amuwo Planks and Building Materials Market.
The traders on Wednesday, protested at the FHA office in Festac Town against the demolition of their market, following the demolition of illegal structures by the Federal Housing Authority (FHA) ahead of the restoration.
The Tide recalls that there was a petition to the Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, in 2020 about illegal structures that had taken over Festac Town.
Speaking at a stakeholders’ meeting on the restoration of Festac town organised by FHA, last year, its South-West Zonal Manager, Mr Akintola Olagbemiro, said, “This year, we commenced the restoration of Festac town, following the consent judgement from the court against illegal occupants of Festac land.
“Our action is to save the residents from the insecurity that has taken over the entire Festac town as a result of illegal structures everywhere”.
The chairman of allottees of First Gate to Third Gate, Mr Kole Olatunji, in his remarks at the meeting said the land from First Gate to Third Gate was allocated between 1985 and 1999, noting that with the consent judgment, original owners of the land as allocated should take over their plots.
But the chairman of plank market, Muhammed Bello, protested the seven-day notice given to traders to vacate the place without alternative arrangements.
Bello said: “How do they expect us to remove our wares in seven days?
“What we want is that they should allow us to remain there and we will pay whatever amount they ask us to pay”.
Speaking in the same vein, the chairman of Cane Chair and Furniture Association, Emmanuel Okoye said: “We need freedom. Let them tell us where they want us to stay. That place was swampy. We filled the place with several millions of Naira which we got as loans.
“We also rely on loans to do our business. Whatever the government wants us to pay; we are ready to pay to remain there. We have been there for 27 years. What we lost to the demolition is over N300 million”.
Fuel Tanker Explosion Kills Five, Injures Two In Ogun
No fewer than five persons were on Wednesday burnt to death, while two others sustained first degree of injury in a fuel tanker explosion at Ajilete, along Owode-Idiroko road, in Yewa South local government area of Ogun State.
Eyewitness accounts revealed that a truck bearing 33,000 litres of petroleum product was descending the steep portion of the road when its tank suddenly detached from truck’s body and tumbled to the ground with a bang.
The explosion, the witnesses said, killed five persons on the spot, while two other persons were injured.
The Tide learnt that the seven victims were all residents of the area where the accident occurred.
Confirming the incident, the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) Commander, Idiroko Unit, Akinwunmi Olaluwoye, said five deaths were recorded in the accident which occurred at about 8.15 am on Wednesday.
According to him, the remains of the dead had been claimed by their families.
He disclosed that a bus and a motorcycle were also caught in a web of the explosion and razed.
He said, “no vehicle rammed into the tanker. The tank dropped off from the back of the tanker and exploded. The number of persons involved are seven; five dead, two injured.
“The driver had taken away the head of the truck as at the time we got there. But we have allowed the police to take charge and handle that aspect”.
Travellers To Access $4,000 As CBN Boosts Forex Supplies
Nigerians travelling abroad can now access a maximum amount of $4,000 foreign exchange from banks following the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) announcement to increase forex supplies.
The CBN had said in a recent statement that it had concluded plans to increase the amount of foreign exchange allocated to banks to meet legitimate needs.
This followed the warning by the CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, to Deposit Money Banks to desist from denying customers the opportunity to purchase foreign exchange.
The purposes to access forex included Personal Travel Allowance, Basic Travel Allowance, tuition fees, and medical payments as well as Small and Medium Enterprises transactions or for the repatriation of Foreign Direct Investment proceeds, the CBN had stated.
Sources from some of the banks said those travelling on business trips could also access a maximum amount of $5,000 for each trip.
At a virtual Bankers’ Committee meeting last week, the bankers discussed how the CBN intended to assist with forex to ensure availability for the upcoming summer period and the return of students to school in September.
The CBN also said the BDCs would continue to have their weekly allocations.
The committee observed that the rates were going up.
It stated, “The CBN has said that all the banks must make availability at all times and anyone who wants to buy BTA, PTA, medical fees, student school fees and all the eligible invisible purchases to ensure that Nigerians are not forced to go and queue in the parallel market.
“So what the Central Bank is doing is to encourage all banks to make sure that there is available forex at all times, and that his information should be communicated on all our platforms.
“We are asking our customers to come to the branches and for BTA, for example, present the required documents, which are basically your international passport, your visa, your valid ticket and fill up the form in the bank.
“And what we have been instructed to do is ensure that we don’t turn anybody back and that we should request from the Central Bank once we exhaust the forex that we have.
“The idea is to have a hitch-free summer period and the resumption for children to go back to school. The idea is to ensure there is less pressure on the forex and then the rates will come down”.
Speaking during the virtual meeting, the Group Managing Director, Access Bank, Herbert Wigwe, said, “I think again as part of the Central Bank’s role in terms of price stability and the need to support small and medium enterprises, there was highlight of the need for banks to go and support SMEs who import small raw materials for them to set up their businesses”.
The Managing Director, Ecobank, Patrick Akinwuntan, said, “All banks are available to ensure forex need is met.”
Managing Director, Sterling Bank, Abubakar Suleiman, said the CBN had provided sufficient foreign exchange to meet the needs of all legitimate Nigerian travellers and therefore, the idea of going to any other market should not arise at all.
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