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Claims of trade surplus deceptive as only crude oil accounts for 83%, not non-oil export

Recent report by the federal government that the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) is working following the record of higher exports than imports in previous quarter has been seen as naïve by experts in international trade.

The government had claimed that trade surplus in Q4 of 2017 pumped N3.254tn to the economy, but observers say the massive chunk of the exports remained crude oil due to the current exemption of Nigeria from crude oil cuts within the OPEC basket.

Otherwise, analysts say for crude oil export to still account for over 83% of Nigeria’s export earnings, means that Nigeria’s economic diversification and drive for none-oil export is not yielding results as expected.

Though there is what can be seen as over 10 percent rise in non-oil export when compared on a year-on-year basis as crude oil export fell to 83.2 per cent in 4th quarter of 2017 up from 95 percent of total export earnings recorded in 4th quarter of 2016, exports in non-oil export had not been so much as manufacturers are still decrying forex issue and cost of doing business in the country till date.

Currently, several manufacturers are still sourcing their power and roads condition in parts of the country is still not salutary to ease of doing business after all.

Only recently, the manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) decried the imposition of .5% consumer protection tax which they described as another bad trade policy capable of collapsing some struggling producers.

Details from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) revealed that only crude oil exports grew by 9.51 per cent over Q3 and by 34.2 percent when compared to the same quarter of 2016.

Still on the total revenue generated in 2017, NBS said crude exports stood at N11.026trillion, representing 81.1 per cent of total exports in 2017, compared to N6.996trillion or 82 per cent of total exports in 2016.

NBS also observed a marginal decline in the share of crude exports between 2016 and 2017, saying “Nigeria’s import trade stood at N2.112.3trillion at the end of fourth quarter, 2017, the highest components of which were Machinery & transport equipment at N684.9 billion; Mineral fuel at N380.4billion and Chemical and selected products at N347.9billon.

“Imported Agricultural goods decreased by 1.7 per cent in fourth quarter of  2017 compared to third quarter of 2017, but increased by 15.9 per cent when compared to fourth quarter, 2016.“For full year, 2017, imported agricultural goods increased by 35.09 per cent to N886.7 billion from N656.4 billion in 2016. Raw materials imports in fourth quarter at N279.4 billion were 2.1 per cent lower than third quarter, 2017 value at N285.3billion, and 2.7 per cent lower than fourth quarter of 2016 at N287.2billion.

“For full year 2017, imported raw materials increased by 19.3 per cent to N1.128.3 trillion from 945.7 billion in 2016. -Solid minerals imports grew by 5.19 per cent in fourth quarter of 2017 over the third quarter of 2017, and 9.2 per cent over fourth quarter of 2016. For full year 2017, imported solid minerals increased by 372.2 per cent to N235.1 billion from N49.7 billion in 2016.