KENYA –Kenya Association of Fish Importers, processors, and Exporters has revealed that fish prices in the country are set to increase by 50% if Parliament approves a proposal to introduce excise duty at Kes 100,000 per ton to shield the local market from cheaper Chinese imports.
According to the association’s chairman, John Msafari, the proposal to impose an excise on fish by Sh100 per kilogram would make the price of fish skyrocket and out of reach of Kenyans.
“This proposal will further increase the price of fish doubling it compared to 20 months ago, rendering the product expensive,” he said.
He added that through the Finance Bill 2023, the Treasury proposal on excise duty on imported fish at the rate of 20% of the cost, insurance, and freight or Sh100,000 per tonne, whichever is higher.
On the other hand, the importers said they spend Sh5.2 million to land a 40-feet container with 26 metric tonnes of tilapia fish at Mombasa port and that the excise duty would push the prices to Sh7.8 million.
George Okeyo, a fish importer said that importers want the proposed excise duty scrapped to allow duty-free fish imports for human consumption for three years.
This is to meet the current demand deficit and increase per capita fish consumption as local farmers work towards increasing production.
“The demand for fish in Kenya is increasing and currently stands at 500,000 metric tonnes against 163,745 metric tonnes of fish produced locally,” he added.
“Out of the 163,745 metric tonnes produced, 10,782 is exported leaving approximately 150 metric tonnes to be consumed locally. This creates a deficit of 350,000 metric tonnes annually.”
Ghana earns US$254 million in Fish Exports
Meanwhile, fish and fish products exports in Ghana have earned the country about US$ 254 million in 2022, according to Mrs. Mavis Hawa Koomson, the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture.
During the commissioning of the Elmina Fishing Port Rehabilitation and Expansion project, Mrs. Hawa revealed that the sector would contribute significantly to the socio-economic development of the country.
She, however, pointed out that the sector has been saddled with challenges such as sea surface temperature and rising sea levels, which increased occurrences of sea surges due to climate change and global warming.
Hawa has therefore urged fishermen to avoid illegal fishing activities to facilitate the recovery and rebuilding of the fishery’s resources.
“The development of landing sites and fishing harbor will be of no use if the fisheries resources are depleted because of illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing practices,” she noted.
The Sector Minister has therefore called on the fisherfolks to work together to harness the full potential of the Elmina Fishing Port to become a catalyst for sustainable growth, increased job creation and improved livelihoods.