Out of two hundred (200) companies that applied, thirty-nine (39) have received licenses for fish importation from the Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture, under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
A Director in the Fishery Department, Dr. Ime Umoh, revealed that most of the disqualified applicants had issues with their tax clearance and other documentations which was noticed during the processing of the approvals. The Director revealed this during a Seafood Seminar organized by the Norwegian Seafood Council in Lagos.
Dr. Umoh went ahead to say that asides the documentation, another major criteria was the applicant(s) having a proper storage capacity as part of the requirement.
The Director 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 licenses 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.”