The Stockfish Dealers Association has called on the federal government to grant importers of stockfish access to the foreign exchange.
The group stated this on the sidelines of a two-day seafood seminar in Lagos.
Chairman of the association, Gregory Ilobinso, said access to forex ensured ease in conducting their business.
Mr. Ilobinso explained, “Stockfish is one of 43 products that cannot access foreign exchange. If importers want to bring in Stock-fish, then we have to have an approved ‘Form M’ from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) with evidence of U.S. dollars to finance the import.
“It takes from six months to one year to get a Form M approved, and because of this, we cannot stock up the product. That is why we are appealing to the Federal Government to allow us access to forex to import stockfish.”
He made a case for the relevance of stockfish in Nigeria’s diet and the government’s need to ensure ease of accessing forex for the trade.
He explained, “There is no substitute, alternative, or competition for stockfish in Nigerian cuisines. Stockfish has its place and adds flavour to Nigerian meals. Eating and using stockfish for meals has become a tradition and a delicacy for us.
“During the Nigerian civil war, due to the outbreak of kwashiorkor, the World Council of Churches imported stockfish to help solve the (issue of) protein-deficiency.”