The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has issued a report highlighting the insufficiency of local fish production to meet the country’s domestic consumption demands.
This dilemma persists despite the financial support provided through the Anchor Borrower Programme (ABP) to fish farmers.
According to the CBN’s report, Nigeria currently imports 700,000 metric tons (MT) of fish annually, surpassing the total domestic production by 60,000 MT. The report emphasizes the sector’s immense growth potential and its capacity to significantly contribute to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
“The subsector has recorded the highest average growth rate of 10.3% (1961-2020) compared to the 6% recorded in crop production in the same period,” the report notes.
“With an average contribution of 4.3% to total agriculture GDP between 1960 and 2020 and provision of at least 50% animal protein, fisheries contributes to economic growth by enhancing food security and improving livelihoods of fish farmers and their households.”
Highlighting the positive trends, the report reveals that aquaculture production in Nigeria increased from 25,718 tons in 2000 to an impressive 261,711 tons in 2020, making it the second-highest in Africa.
This 12.3% annual growth rate slightly lags behind the sub-regional average but surpasses regional and global averages.
Catfishes played a pivotal role, contributing two-thirds of Nigeria’s aquaculture production in 2020, and the country accounted for nearly 80% of global aquaculture production of bony tongues.
To address this challenge and revitalize the fisheries and aquaculture industries in Nigeria, the Fisheries Cooperative Federation of Nigeria (FCFN) has presented a comprehensive blueprint. FCFN President Alhaji Mohammed Laminu emphasized the importance of collaborative efforts between the government, private individuals, public-private partnerships, and access to funding for small-scale fish farmers and fishermen.
The blueprint includes a range of interventions, such as the provision of 150,000 bags of fish feeds, 7.5 million packs of fingerlings, 15,000 collapsible tanks, 5,000 bundles of fishing nests, 5,000 outboard engines, 5,000 life jackets, 2,000 smoking kilns, and 1,500 plastic tanks.
As Nigeria grapples with the challenge of balancing domestic fish demand and production, the CBN’s report and FCFN’s blueprint signal a concerted effort to boost local fish production, enhance food security, and strengthen the livelihoods of those engaged in the fishery industry.
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Tax Expert Urges Government to Boost Investment-Friendly Tax Environment
Calls for Fairness, Transparency, and Seamless Tax Process to Attract Investors
Dr. Titilayo Fowokan, a former Lagos State Coordinator of the Society of Women in Taxation (SWIT), has called for a significant improvement in the tax environment.
Her recommendations encompass fairness, transparency, and a seamless tax collection process to stimulate economic growth.
Speaking recently in Lagos, Dr. Fowokan commended the present administration’s efforts in implementing tax reforms, particularly highlighting the Finance Act of 2023 and the work of the Taiwo Oyedele-led tax reform committee.
She emphasized the alignment of these initiatives with current economic realities, especially in enhancing the ease of doing business.
However, Dr. Fowokan voiced concerns about the impact of excessive exchange rate volatility and fuel subsidy removal on these reforms.
She noted that these factors have driven up the cost of doing business in the country, putting pressure on investors.
“Overall, businesses and companies are adjusting to the drive for compliance by the current tax system and reviewing their tax strategy, value and supply chain management, tax controls, risk management, and tax planning initiatives for sustainability,” Dr. Fowokan stated.
In addition to her recommendations for governments, Dr. Fowokan urged tax administrators to improve interactions between taxpayers and new digital tax payment platforms.
She acknowledged the benefits of transitioning to an automated tax system, particularly in terms of enhanced tax compliance, and called for further innovation in this area.
“In relation to administrative ease of the current tax system, the FIRS should not limit the Tax Promax platform to punishing non-compliance but also grant access to benefits for compliance. This is from the angle of penalty regimes on the platform versus the claim of Withholding tax credits through the platform. An improvement in this will be a significant boost to the ease of doing business in Nigeria,” Dr. Fowokan emphasized.
The recommendations put forth by Dr. Titilayo Fowokan underscore the importance of fostering an investment-friendly tax environment that prioritizes fairness, transparency, and efficiency. As governments contemplate their fiscal policies, her insights serve as a timely reminder of the crucial role tax reform plays in economic development and attracting investment.
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