Nigeria recorded a foreign trade deficit of N1.94 trillion in 2021, according to a report by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
This implies a negative trade balance as the Nigerian economy is still import driven and largely dependent on oil exports and some agricultural products to cover foreign exchange earnings.
In 2020, the country recorded its first annual trade deficit in four years as imports exceeded exports by N7.37 trillion.
In its report, “Foreign Trade in Goods Statistics (Q4 2021)”, released on Tuesday, the BES revealed that the country’s total trade in goods stood at 11,707.20 billion naira, an increase of 11.79 % compared to the value recorded in the third quarter of 2021. and 74.71% more compared to the fourth quarter of 2020.
The report further shows that total exports for 2021 stood at N18.91 trillion while total imports stood at N20.84 trillion, leaving a trade deficit of N1.94 trillion.
“In 2021, the value of total trade stood at N39.75 trillion, 57.60% higher than the value recorded in 2020,” the report said.
“The value of total imports in 2021 stood at N20.84 trillion, 64.11% higher than the value recorded in 2020, while total exports were valued at N18.91 trillion, a increase of 50.99% from the value recorded in 2020. Overall, in 2021, trade in goods recorded a deficit of N1.94 trillion.
The report shows that imports stood at 5.94 trillion naira in the fourth quarter of 2021, while exports were 5.77 trillion naira.
“Exports in the fourth quarter of 2021 were still dependent on oil. Crude oil exports registered 4.27 trillion naira, and it remained the main product of total exports (74.04%), while non-crude oil was valued at 1.49 trillion naira, or 25, 96% of total exports, of which non-oil products contributed N810. 88 billion, representing 14.06% of total exports during the quarter under review,” he added.
The top three countries that accounted for the highest share in Nigeria’s total exports in the fourth quarter of 2021 were India (15.17%), Spain (13.69%) and France (8.42%) .
China (27.8%), Belgium (10.3%) and India (7.24%) are the countries from which Nigeria imported the most goods during the period.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) had advised Nigeria to diversify its exports as it would benefit its economy.
In its latest report “Nigeria: Selected Issues Paper”, the IMF said that Nigeria had not implemented much export diversification over the years.
“Nigeria has diversified its exports little in recent decades. Diversification can be achieved by including new products in the export portfolio (extensive margin) and changing the share of existing products (intensive margin),” the report reads.
“Over the past few decades, Nigeria has failed to diversify its exports at the extensive margin, nor to add new by-products within the petroleum and few raw materials it exports to achieve a more export balance.”
The report states that Nigeria only added 47 new products to its export portfolio between 1990 and 2020, unlike many other countries.