The Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, has granted fish importation licences to thirty-nine (39) companies this year, out of the two hundred (200) that applied for licences.
The Director in the Department, Dr. Ime Umoh, told Vanguard that most of the applications were turned down because they could not meet the requirement for licences to import fish.
According to Umoh, most of the disqualified applicants had issues with their tax clearance and other documentation. Applicants are also required to have adequate storage facility in addition to proper documentation.
He added that approval process is done once a year and that the next round of approval will be next year.
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He said: “151 applicants did not meet the requirements as only 39 were given licenses to import fish this year.
“We profile these applicants, look at their experiences as traders before we give approval and the approval process is done once a year. The next round of approval will be next year.
“Some people got approval last year but did not utilise their licences last year maybe because they did not have the capacity to import.
“We know the faces of frozen importers but traders in stockfish and stockfish heads are still a mystery to us because they are unknown to us.
“As a department, we want a relationship with these importers. As a Ministry, we want to be close to them so that we can resolve our issues together as they arise.”
Ifunanya Ikueze is an Engineer, Safety Professional, Writer, Investor, Entrepreneur and Educator.