Nigeria has spent about N500 billion to import fish in 11 months despite the country being the largest producer of fish in Africa.
Findings revealed that the higher cost of imported fish products since 2015 and the 2019 devaluation of the naira are yet to create the necessary opportunity for domestic fish production to compete with imported fish.
Therefore, the plan by the Federal Government to ban the importation of this essential staple food next year, industry players said, may suffer a set back.
For instance, between January and June this year, National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) noted that blue whiting specie worth N62.4 billion was imported, herrings imports amount to N35.53 billion and mackerel fish were imported for N25.75 billion.
It added that between January and March, this year, the biggest import was recorded; when blue whiting fishes worth N27.23 billion were imported from Russia alone.
The amount of fish imported into the country between July and November this year, sources at the Federal Ministry of Finance said, worth over N200 billion.
“This amount is far below the worth of the fish that were smuggled into the country from the neighbouring countries in the last 10 months,”
The country, findings revealed, has a record of 2.5million metirc tonnes of fish deficit, a situation that is affecting protein intake among the poor people in the north and south.