The Catfish Farmers Association of Nigeria has urged the Federal Government to have a rethink and drop the idea of adding Value Added Tax (VAT) to fish production to enable members produce more fish for consumers.
The Association’s National President, Mr Rotimi Oloye, made the appeal in an interview with Newsverge in Ibadan on Thursday.
Oloye said the Federal Government through the Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS) had decided to put fish feeds on the items the government would be collecting VAT.
According to him, the policy decision will affect the cost of production and it will lead to increase in price of catfish.
“This is like a conflict of priority, the government wants to place a ban on the importation of frozen fish, this has made many people to join local fish production.
“The government shouldn’t now make the production of catfish more expensive for producers.
“The cost of catfish production has been increased from 50 per cent to 100 per cent in the recent time.
“If we cannot produce fish for ordinary people in the country, we are not securing any food.
“Now letters are being sent to feeds companies asking them to pay for arrears of over N200milliion tax, sealing up these companies will certainly lead many people out of job.
“This will invariably affect production and Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as well.”
He urged the government to encourage agriculture production by creating special agriculture desk at the Nigeria’s Ports to lessen the burden of clearing imports that are agriculture related.
Oloye emphasised that the government should give waivers to agriculture imports to reduce cost of production and also assist in the development of human capacity.
“Attention should be given to extension agents, they should be mobilised to do their work while research institutes should be directed to release their findings to farmers.
“A lot of investment should be made on agriculture to secure our people and secure the country with foods.
“Fish production can give job to millions of youths, it has a lot of value chain ranging from producing, processing to marketing, and it’s a business that can sustain a whole country.”
The national president explained that the cost of fish feeds had increased by 200 per cent and that the quality of the ones in the market now was not as good as the ones in the market when the price was reasonable.
“This is a serious challenge, the price used to be between N4,200 and N5,500 before depending on the grade and size but now, it is between N9,900 and N18,000.
“This is because the cost of procuring dollar to import finished feeds, materials, and supplements has risen,” he said.
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