Fish scarcity looms as seafood importers cut import by 12%

The restrictive import policy introduced by the Federal Government has forced seafood import from Norway to Nigeria to slash import by 12 per cent.

According to agency report, since the Nigerian government placed a structured embargo on import quotas, Norwegian seafood imports into the country including, herring, mackerel, horse mackerel, and blue whiting recorded huge decline.

Though analysts believe that recent flexible policy introduced by the apex bank would ease pressure on the nation’s currency but a market analyst with Norwegian Seafood Council (NSC), Paul Aandahl, said there was still evidence aplenty to suggest Nigeria is still not open for business.

With the naira, which has fallen to an almost record-low of N292.50 to the US dollar, as of July 18, Aandahl said, “more and bigger import quotas will not solve the problem. Fish must be out of the CBN list to get access to USD to a lowest possible price.”

Fish traders operating in the country currently face curbs on dollar funding for imports, with the Nigerian central bank restricting importers from using the foreign-exchange market for some goods including fish.

Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele had said the policy was yielding positive results for the country. To Emefiele, the CBN did not ban import of goods, adding, “What we did was to restrict the foreign exchange to those items that we think we can produce competitively locally so as to improve our local industries due to the challenges we have.”

An Africa economist with Capital Economics, John Ashbourne, explained that the new system did not mark the end of Nigeria’s economic problems.