Nwangwu makes case for indigenous fishing trawler owners

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…Seeks withdrawal of 2% Cabotage charge, multiple registrations

The President, African Federation of Freight Forwarders, Chief Lexy Nwangwu has called for a stop in the collection of the 2% cabotage charge on the indigenous fishing trawler owners fishing on the Nigerian waters.

Nwabgwu who was speaking in an exclusive interview with Primetime Reporters in Lagos also wants multiple registrations by the agencies under the Ministry of Transportation to stop forthwith.

He observed that the call had became necessary owing to the fact that fishing trawler owners were professional farmers whose activities were beneficial to the nation as it would save the country foreign exchange as well as earn it foreign exchange since their product were rated the best in the world.

He argued that if the trawler owners were encouraged, they would start packaging shrimps properly to meet international standard and massive exportation of shrimps.

According to him,” I suggest that the Minister of Transportation who controls NIMASA, NPA, NIWA should look into those allegations and put things right. The fishing trawler owners are professional farmers, they are fishermen and their activities will save Nigeria foreign exchange and earn Nigeria so much foreign exchange because the products of the Gulf of Guinea are rated the best in the world.

“Government must stop collecting that 2% cabotage charge from them because they are Nigerians, they are not foreign owned vessels fishing within Nigerian territorial waters within the Gulf of Guinea which Nigeria occupies about 75% to 80% of the entire Gulf of Guinea. They fish there, come back and you ask them to pay 2% cabotage charge. Why? People who owned trawlers are Nigerians and they don’t have money and you frustrate them.

“Multiple registrations must stop, commercial banks must be encouraged because thank God this year’s budget provided a lot of money for agriculture, commercial banks must be ready to finance trawler operators because they are farmers. These people are farming in the sea, so they have to be encouraged and recognized.

On the high incidences of piracy in the Gulf of Guinea, he said,” If Nigerian Navy and NIMASA are serious, piracy will go. Is it only piracy? Selling of fish midstream, the owners of the trawlers will be in office, the seafarers will go to the sea, catch fish and sell. When you get there, you will see motorized wooden boats going instead of catching fish, they will go and collect fish from the trawlers, these seafarers, Captains and his team, sell the fish that is supposed to come to the investor and we have Navy officials.

“Navy is supposed to be on the waters and not on the land. Navy is there and that kind of thing is happening, NIMASA is there with all its satellite equipment that they have. I should suggest they don’t keep those men for too long because they are beneficiaries of those things (Piracy). That is why it is happening otherwise there won’t be piracy on the Nigerian waters”.

He however praised the courage of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries Department for taking the bold step to bring the problems facing the fishing industry to the knowledge of the Minister of Transportation and the entire maritime stakeholders saying that the action had saved the nation another loss in the economy.

It will be recalled that the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries Department complained in a goodwill message it delivered at the just concluded Maritime Stakeholders’ Conference of some unfriendly practices ranging from 2% Cabotage charge, multiple registrations occasioned by NIMASA and NIWA, ejection from the designated fishing terminal by the NPA and lots more which are impeding the development of the sector.

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