Ahmed Condemns Nigeria’s $2.5bn Frozen Meat Import Bill
The Kwara State Governor, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed, has said it is unacceptable that Nigeria spends about $2.5bn annually on imported frozen meat.
He also lamented this had led to a loss of more than one million job opportunities.
According to him, the net impact of this is the gradual emasculation of local businesses, resulting in unemployment and stunting growth.
He also said that smuggling of contraband goods was a drain on the nation’s economy, retarding local businesses and resulting in the demise of local industries.
He spoke on Tuesday while declaring open a seminar organised by the Poultry Association of Nigeria with the themed ‘Impact of smuggled poultry products on the economy and health of Nigerians,’ in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital.
Ahmed said, “I regard today’s event as timely, coming at the time of renewed efforts at the federal, state and local government levels to diversify the economy towards agriculture which has immense growth, employment and industrialisation capabilities.
“Nigeria’s poultry sector is currently responsible for 25 per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product and has the potential to create employment for five million Nigerians.
“While the poultry sector is largely dominated by subsistence and small-scale farmers, with a few large-scale operators such as Shonga Farms and Yamfy Farms here in Kwara State, the sector has grown rapidly over the years, principally as a result of genetic improvements and adoption of modern production technologies. A few years back, broilers birds were raised for 8-12 weeks before reaching the table.”
According to him, Nigeria has the local capacity to fill the supply gap that may be created by the ban on importation of frozen meat.
Earlier in his remarks, the President, PAN, Mr. Ezekiel Ibrahim, attributed high cases of cancer and kidney diseases, particularly among the wealthy individuals, to the consumption of some imported products.
He disclosed that about 1.3 metric tonnes of poultry were smuggled into the country on annual basis between 2004 and 2017.
He called on the Kwara State Government to encourage whistle-blowing policy among inhabitants of border communities to expose those smuggling poultry products.