By Mosunmola Ayobami, Kwara
Kwara State Governor, Dr Abdulfatah Ahmed has called for stronger enforcement of current ban on importation of poultry products into the country to protect the health of citizens and boost the nation’s economy.
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, Governor Ahmed emphasised that Nigeria has the local capacity to fill the supply gap that may be created by this ban on importation of frozen meat.
The Governor who explained that poultry industry is still faced with challenges including but not limited to unfair competition from imported frozen meat, chicken and turkey, said “imported frozen meat is said to account for over $2.5 in foreign exchange and a loss of more than one million jobs opportunities annually”.
The net impact of this, according to Dr Ahmed, is the gradual emasculation of local businesses, resulting in unemployment and stunting growth.
Gov Ahmed insisted that smuggling of contraband items drains the national income, retards local businesses and often results in the demise of local industries, and in the long term have devastating effects on the health of consumers.
Earlier in his remarks, the President, Poultry Association of Nigeria, Mr. Ezekiel Ibrahim, who attributed high cases of cancer and kidney diseases, particularly among the wealthy individuals, to the consumption of imported products, disclosed that an average of 1.3 metric tonnes of poultry products were smuggled into the country on annual basis between 2004 and 2017.
Mr. Ibrahim called on Kwara State Government to encourage whistleblowing policy among inhabitants of border communities to expose those smuggling poultry products.
In his paper presentation titled: State of Emergency: Job losses due to smuggling of poultry products in Nigeria, the immediate past National President of the association, Dr Ayoola Oduntan described poultry business as low hanging fruits with potential to creating high paying jobs.