By Henry Okonkwo
Norwegian officials have highlighted various trade barriers, and policies impedingfree flow of trade between Nigeria and Norway.
They have therefore appealed for trading relations to further deepen existing bilateral relations between the two countries. The appeal was made at a two-day seafood seminar organised by the Norwegian Seafood Council which took place recently in Lagos State.
The convener of the seminar, Mr Trond Kostveit of the Norwegian Seafood Council, said the appeal has become neccessary because of the importance strong trade ties between the two countries. He said: “In 2015 the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) placed some 41 products as unqualified for forex and unfortunately stock-fish falls under the category. The placement of all kinds of fish under the forex embargo, I believe, is to boost local fish production which is quite understandable. But unfortunately, stock-fish is very important to the Nigerian diet, hence we appeal for its removal from the forex embargo”.
According to Kostveit, there are very many good reasons why stockfish should be removed from the embago list. “Stockfish and Stockfish heads are currently more or less the most affordable fish proteins for a majority of Nigerians in the low-income bracket.
“Many livelihoods depend on the stockfish trade as both men and women are involved in the sales in all the Nigerian markets. Despite the popularity of stockfish in Nigeria, it does not pose a threat to the encouragement of increased local production of fish in Nigeria as the imported volume is relatively low it does not involve the repatriation of a lot of foreign currency as compared to other items on the list,’’ he said.
In his online address, Norway’s Minister of Fisheries and Seafood, Mr Odd-Emil Ingebrigtsen, described Nigeria as a key trade ally but noted some government policies that blockade trades, and which affects the principles of mutual international economic partnership.