Artisanal fishermen operating along the Atlantic coastline in Niger Delta on Tuesday lamented the hardships they had been facing as Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) cashless policy cripple their vocation.
Niger Delta Coordinator, Artisanal Fishermen Association of Nigeria (ARFAN) Rev. Samuel Ayadi, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Yenagoa that fuel and cash scarcity had dealt heavy blows on fishermen.
He said since CBN’s introduction of ₦20,000 maximum daily withdrawal, fishermen had found it impossible to raise cash to fuel their outboard engines for fishing expeditions.
He said that members of the association had suspended fishing because of exorbitant cost of fuel and scarcity of cash.
“Our fishermen in the rural areas cannot survive the exorbitant cost of fuel which is currently above ₦500 per litre and the second obstacle is the ₦20,000 withdrawal limit.
“Our fishing depends heavily on petrol-fuelled outboard engines which require at least 200 litters on a fishing trip and that amounts to N100,000 for just one boat.
“Raising such cash from few Point of Sale terminal operators has been a challenge.
“There are no banks here in the creeks. Rural coastline fishing camps and our business activities are dominated by cash.
“For two weeks now, we have pulled out of the waters and do not know what to do,’’ Ayadi lamented.
He explained that besides the cash scarcity, sourcing petrol at about N500 per litre and passing the cost to the consumer would make fish unaffordable.
Ayadi appealed to the Federal Government to ensure that the floating mega fuel stations that served coastal settlements were restored to save the rural fishing economy from imminent collapse.
He stressed that fuel and cash scarcities were adversely affecting fish supply.
Ayadi said that as patriotic Nigerians, members of the association would remain committed to providing fish which remains the cheapest source of protein.