- Total import reached a record high at N19.89trn; exports declined to N12.52trn
Nigeria’s total trade fell to N32.42 trillion in 2020 and showing a negative foreign trade deficit in the sum of N7.38 trillion. The latest figures from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), Nigeria showed. The NBS, in the latest full-year 2020 foreign trade report highlighted that Nigeria engaged more in the importation of goods worth N19.89 trillion into the country while total exports outside of Nigeria hit N12.52 trillion during the year under review.
The year 2020 saw the global health crisis disrupt trading activities across the globe as well as the closure of landed borders in Nigeria, limiting export and import of commodities. The pandemic however brought its negative impact on Africa’s largest economy in 2020.
A breakdown of the trade statistics, total trade was 10.3 per cent year on year lower in 2020 than the value of N36.15 trillion recorded in 2019 while a quarterly review portends that total foreign trade was 8.9 per cent higher in the final three months of 2020 standing at N9.12 trillion, compared to the third quarter of 2020 but 9.9 per cent lower than the value recorded in Q4, 2019. However, the value of trade in the fourth quarter was the highest recorded over the in 2020.
Furthermore, as the value of imports nearly doubled the value of exports, the trade deficit rose to its highest level and a fifth consecutive quarterly deficit at a negative of N2.7 trillion, an increase of 14.30 per cent compared to the past quarter. Thus, the total exports component of trade stood at N3.2 trillion and indicating an increase of 6.7 per cent over the previous quarter but a drop of 33 per cent from the past year 2019. Additionally, the share of exports in total trade declined to 35 per cent in Q4 2020 from 47 per cent a year earlier. On the other hand, total imports reached a record high at N5.9 trillion in the last quarter of 2020, an increase of 10.1 per cent over the prior quarter, and 10.8 per cent over the previous year. But, imports also accounted for 65 per cent of total trade in the Q4 of 2020, compared to 53 per cent the previous year.
An annual comparison of the data published by the Abuja-based statistics office showed that for the year 2020, the value of total imports was 17.3 per cent higher than the value recorded in 2019 with the value of agricultural imports reaching 78.6 per cent higher than recorded in 2019. Also, the value of raw material imports were 72.5 per cent higher than the value recorded in 2019 while the value of manufactured imports was 6.5 per cent higher than the value recorded in 2019 and other oil products imported was 15.1 per cent higher than the value recorded in 2019.
On the other hand, Nigeria recorded a lower total exports numbers of 34.8 per cent in 2020 than was seen in 2019 with the value of agricultural exports rising higher by 19.2 per cent than the value recorded in 2019. In 2020, the value of raw material goods exports were only 0.7 per cent higher than the value recorded in 2019. Also, manufactured exports were 53.7 per cent lower than the value recorded in 2019, while crude oil exports were 35.7 per cent lower than recorded in 2019 and other oil products exported during the year was 17.1 per cent lower than the value recorded in 2019.
Despite the reduced trading activities across national borders on the back of the global pandemic, the report from the NBS noted that Asia accounted for the largest imports to Nigeria, representing 49.3 per cent of total imports, valued at N9.8 trillion; followed by Europe with imports valued at N 6.6 trillion, or 33.3 per cent of total imports, and America, which recorded N2.6 trillion or 13.2 per cent of total imports. On the flip side, Asia still stands atop of Nigeria’s major export trade partners with goods valued at N1.2 trillion or 36 per cent of total exports, Europe followed behind with exports worth N1.1 trillion, or 34 per cent and America received goods valued at N376.4 billion or 12 per cent. The value of exports to Africa was N551.1 billion, out of which N144.8 billion worth of goods was exported to other ECOWAS countries.
Meanwhile, the most traded agricultural products during the year according to the NBS data were Sesamum seeds (whether or not broken); sesame oil and its fractions; good fermented Nigerian cocoa beans; cashew nuts in the shell; superior quality raw cocoa beans; shelled cashew nuts, linseed, whether or not broken; Shea nuts, palm nuts and kernels.