Why Nigeria has rising cost of stockfish – Norway Ambassador
By Nneka Nwogwugwu
Mr Knut Lein, Norway Ambassador to Nigeria, has blamed the rising cost of stockfish in Nigeria on the inclusion of stockfish on forex banned list.
Lein who spoke on the sideline of a two-day seafood seminar in Port Harcourt that the ban had resulted to inflated cost of stockfish in Nigeria.
According to him, Nigeria should reconsider its forex denial on stockfish imports as the seafood is highly nutritional and has become a part of the local delicacy.
“Norway is not competing with Nigeria in stockfish production and we have raised two points to this argument with Nigerian government officials.
“One is that Norway understands that Nigeria needs to grow its own fish industry, to which Norway stands ready to assist Nigeria realise.
“But today’s topic is about stockfish, a very particular product which is enjoyed a lot in Nigeria and that cannot be produced here due to climate.
“So, our argument is that we want to work with the Federal Government to grow our trade and at the same time, provide assistance for Nigerian fish industry to grow,” he said.
Lein said the Norwegian government had expressed willingness to share decades of experience in fish farming and Atlantic fishing and build capacity of local fish farmers.
The envoy said that both countries had to work closely to ensure mutually beneficial relations.
“So, we are waiting on the Nigerian authorities to demand our assistance as well as remove barriers on the stockfish trade in the country.
“The lack of access to forex and challenges in issuing letters of credit has resulted to both importers and exporters losing a lot from the trade, blamed on the expensive forex in Nigeria.
“In the end, those suffering are the Nigeria consumers of stockfish who buy the item as higher price than they should have,” he bemoaned.
Lein blamed the trade imbalance between both countries to Nigeria’s importation of refined petroleum product from Norway, after exporting crude oil to the country.