Assist us to breath, Nigerian fish trawlers cry to FG


…Abandon vessels over high operating cost


By Abiodun OBA


Fish trawlers under the aegis of the Nigerian Trawler Operators Association (NITOA) have called on the Federal Government for aids to bring life back into their fishing business.

The President of NITOA, Mrs. Ben Okonkwo, appealed on Tuesday at the 2024 Stakeholders Engagement meeting organized by the Federal Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy in Lagos.

Okonkwo lamented that members of the association have abandoned their vessels at different jetties scattered across the nation’s ports due to very high operational costs and called on the Federal Government to remove them from the Cabotage Act.

According to NITOA the major challenge facing trawler operators in Nigeria is sourcing Automotive Gas Oil (diesel), which is now very expensive.

According to Mrs. Ben Okonkwo, “The jetties everywhere have our vessels tied up there, doing nothing because we can’t afford the cost of diesel for operations. What happens when vessels are tied up doing nothing? The workers become laid off and unemployed.

“That’s the stark reality of what happens when vessels are doing nothing. For trawler owners to bounce back into operations, we are asking for some kind of logistics arrangement from NNPC or Dangote Refinery in the area of AGO provision.

“If we can get some discount when we buy AGO, it will really go a long way in breathing back life into the fish trawler industry.

“We are also asking for Customs Duty waivers for our vessel spare parts like fishing gears and the rest. You know we don’t manufacture these things here in Nigeria. Most of them are imported, so if we can get duty waivers on them, it will also go a long way in helping us.

“In the area of Tax waivers, what we used to enjoy in the past was Export Expansion Grants. However, some companies have not received any grant since 2017.

“Some got up to 2020 and stopped receiving. The grant was something designed by the government to cushion the effect of the challenges facing the fish trawling industry.

“If these grants can come back and become more regular and transparent, it will go a long way in reviving the fish trawling industry. We have Cabotage issues too.

“Ordinarily, we are not supposed to be captured under the Cabotage Act, but we are there. Years ago, we got an administrative waiver and then went to the House of Reps during a public hearing to defend why we should not be captured under the Cabotage Act.

“We then received a response that it would be looked into, but we have not seen any review to date. As fish trawlers, we don’t have any contract, so we should be removed from the Cabotage Act.

“We do fishing purely as an agricultural business, so putting us under the Cabotage regime will do us more harm than good.”

© 2024, maritimemag. All rights reserved.

NIMASA’s Floating Dock: Director-General, Dr. Dayo Mobereola, committed to resolving bottlenecks

Previous article

Maritime Police arraigns fake Customs agent for allegedly duping customer of N17.2m

Next article

You may also like


Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published.

More in Headlines