The Federal Government has been urged to create a separate ministry that would cater to fisheries and aquaculture in order to boost the value chain.
Deputy Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Agricultural Institutions, Awaji Inombek-Abiante, made the call this weekend in Abuja.
He made this known during the 16th Fellowship Investitures and Launching of N500 million Building Fund for the National Secretariat of the Fisheries Society of Nigeria (FISON).
According to the lawmaker, the fishery value chain was a multi-billion dollar industry that needed to be prioritised by the government.
He said, “We came up with this demand to have an institute that will help us to develop that particular segment of the industry.
“That same bill was passed in the 8th Assembly, transmitted to Mr President; unfortunately, it was not signed.
“You have listened to people speak, you have seen the gap in our fish requirement. Apart from that, the records are there; science is tending to encourage us to do more of fish than red meat,” he added.
The lawmaker further explained that the development will assist the Nigerian government to reap over $1billion annually from the fisheries industry.
“Why are we keeping a blind eye to this development? Probably due to ignorance; probably the people who know are not speaking to those who need to know
“If we can conserve what we use; the import value of fish is over $1 billion as we speak, that is over N400 billion. It can take care of the capital budget requirements of two ministries under this administration,” he said.
Abiante also pledged the commitment of the committee towards fast-tracking the quick passage of two key fisheries industry bills into law.
The two bills are the Brackish Water Fisheries Research Institute bill and the Fisheries Institute of Nigeria bill.
Governor Kayode Fayemi, of Ekiti State, Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State, Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State, Senators Abdullahi Adamu, Ibikunle Amosun, Aliya Sabi-Abdullahi, and Muhammad Enagi all graced the event.
It was hosted by the National President of the association, Dr. Agbaibiaka Lukman Adegoke.