The Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo has revealed that Nigeria has paid its debt of $200,000 to the Fisheries Committee for the West Central Gulf of Guinea (FCWC) this year.
Osinbajo also encourages everyone involved to try to repair the nation’s vessels quickly to enable the country participate fully in fishing activities in the region.
Making this revelation at the closing ceremony of the 10th Annual Conference of the FCWC at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel in Abuja on Friday, he said:
“Am happy to inform you that we have paid about $200, 000 of our debt to FCWC this year, we just try to encourage everyone else to repair our vessel quickly as we can.
“I want the secretariat of the FCWC to prioritize the speedy sharing of the information between member states in other to more effectively checkmate their activities of foreign vessel fishing illegally within our territorial water.
The common and value of our nation is to continue to give FCWC full support for sustainability and management of our fish.
“As Nigeria we will continue to play our role and support FCWC; the safety of Nigeria maritime is also a principal concern to us, president Muhammadu Buhari has approved the purchase sound vessels of the department of fishery that is patron vessels
which could be managing with the collaboration with Nigeria Navy to boost research and rescue capacity of the relevant security agency to prevent illegal fishy and help secure our vessel in the sea.
“In the north east of Nigeria where we are affected with the terrorism activities of Boko Haram has devastated the fishery industry which had supplied most of the West Africa countries.
Earlier this year, president Buhari approved the establishment of the ‘Lake Chad neighbor Basic’ to boost security and fast- track the restoration of the livelihood in that zone.”
According to the Vice President, the theme of this year’s conference, which is to invest in the growth and sustainability of fishery in west Africa is important, even in terms of sharing the experience and lay aspiration for the economic wellbeing of our people.
“Our effort to reduce fish import and increase local fish production by encouraging the private sectors to invest in agriculture is yielding positive result.
In the domestic fish production; in the last two years it has increased from 450,000 metric tons to 1.1million metric tons, and we hope this growth will be exponential with all the initiatives we have put in place.
There is no doubt that the result of the work we are doing is to encourage investment in Nigeria,” he said.
In his earlier remarks, the Minister of State for Agriculture Heineken Lokpobiri said that the contribution of agriculture to over all GDP is 25.49% which generates almost one third of employment.
“The fisheries sub sector significantly to national food security, job creation, income generation, poverty alleviation, foreign exchange earnings in addition to providing raw materials for the food and animal feed industry.
“Presently, our total demand for fish is 3.2 million tons annually while domestic production is about 1,1 million tons. (From all sources, aquaculture, artisanal and the industrial sectors including shrimps), leaving a deficit of about 2.1 million tons supplemented by fish import.”
Lokpobiri pointed that out of the 1.1 million tons aforesaid, aquaculture accounts for about 511,000 tons.
Tom Okpe, Abuja