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Nigeria records N7.5tn trade deficit with China – NBS


National-Bureau-of-Statistics-640×330 (NBS)

The trade balance between Nigeria and China increased to N7.54tn in the first nine months of 2023,

According an analysis of data from the National Bureau of Statistics, the bilateral trade deficit in favour of China is widening, with a steady increase in Nigeria’s imports from the Asian country in the past one year.

An analysis of the foreign trade statistics released by the Bureau showed that Nigeria imported N8.4tn worth of goods from China in the nine months between January and September 2023.

A break down showed that the country imported N1.29tn worth of produce in Q1, N2.56tn in Q2 and N4.53tn in Q3.

Further details of the NBS data for the nine months 2023 show that exports from Nigeria to China was valued at N126.61bn in Q1, N251.8bn in Q2 and N482.4bn in Q3, making a total of N860.82bn and indicating huge deficits during the period.

Nigeria’s main exports to China include minerals, metals, agricultural products, crude oil, and agricultural products.

In 2021, a report by obtained from China’s Custom agency stated that Nigeria topped the chart amongst African countries importing from China with imported goods valued at $23bn (about N9.6tn) or 16 percent of total continent’s imports from China.

But the country didn’t feature on the top five African countries in exports to China in the same period, as it recorded only $3bn (about N1.3trillion) exports in the year.

Experts say the recurring trade deficit speaks to the persistent weak production capacity and competitiveness of Nigerian firms.

Last week, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Commerce, Doris Aniete, came under scrutiny when she appeared before some senators to defend her ministry’s budget and was asked where the country’s balance of trade stood, especially with China.

“What is our balance of trade, especially with China? Those countries importing things to Nigeria are expected to build factories in Nigeria,” the Senator representing Edo North, Adams Oshiomhole, queried.

“We have to take advantage of our population to grow our industries.”

However, the minister told the joint panel that her ministry had yet to get such record.

“Sir, I regret to say that we seem to have no record of our balance of trade or at least it does not exist in the ministry and that is why we initiated a new unit called the trade intelligence unit to ensure that such data are generated and stored,” Uzoka said.

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