Nigeria’s imports from China in the second and third quarter of 2019, (April to September) stood at N2.2tn; data obtained from the National Bureau of Statistics have shown.
The country imported Chinese goods worth N1.02tn in the second quarter, representing 25.47 per cent of total imports and in the third quarter, imported Chinese goods valued at N1.22tn representing 31.34 per cent of total imports.
Imports from the United States of America were valued at N422.1bn, representing 10.53 per cent of total imports.
Other trading partners – Netherlands, India and Belgium – accounted for imports valued at N374.1bn (or 9.33 per cent), N299.8bn (or 7.48 per cent) and N248.9bn (or 6.21 per cent) respectively.
According to data obtained from the NBS, during the second quarter, Nigeria imported N1.8tn goods from Asia, representing 44.36 per cent of total imports.
Other imports originated from Europe (valued at N1.42tn or 35.51 per cent), Americas (N544.3bn or 13.58 per cent), Africa (N241.7bn or 6.03 per cent) and Oceania (N20.7bn or 0.52 per cent).
The major products imported during the second quarter were machinery and transport equipment valued at N1.7tn.
Other major imports during the quarter were mineral fuels, N909.7bn and chemical and related products, N428.2bn.
In the third quarter, imports from Asia were put at N1.9tn or 51.3 per cent of total imports while imports from Europe were valued at N1.2tn or 30.6 per cent; imports from Americas and Africa amounted to N576.7bn or 14.8 per cent and N106.0bn or 2.7per cent respectively.
Imports originating from countries such as the United States were put at N442.4bn; India, N292bn; the Netherlands, N265.2bn and Belgium, N155.2bn.
China which has continued to increase its exports to Nigeria, and is now the biggest trading partner, however, not on the list of the top 10 countries Nigeria was exporting its products to in the first half of 2019.
While China remains Nigeria’s biggest source of imports, India currently stands as the nation’s biggest export market.
Major items imported from China include natural rubber, motorcycles and others.
In April 2018, the Central Bank of Nigeria signed a Bilateral Currency Swap Agreement with the People’s Bank of China.
By the end of 2018, the CBN disclosed that it had injected CNY669.66m in the foreign exchange market to support businesses trading with China.
Worried about the trend, experts had said if something was not done to correct the negative trade balance trajectory between Nigeria and China, the gap would continue to wide
An export analyst and Chief Executive Officer, Multimix Group, Mr Obiora Madu, pointed out that China had commenced heavy export of services to Nigeria.
Nigeria is home to numerous Chinese restaurants, for instance.
Madu said, “The reason is that China is very aggressive with its exports.
“It is so serious that if you go to the Chinese embassy to discuss business, you might come out with a proforma invoice.
“Nigeria’s trade balance with China has been in the negative for years. Now, they have started exporting services to Nigeria. They are all over – construction, the new Dangote refinery, rail; you name it.
“We could be in for colonisation.”
He called on the Nigerian agency responsible for export matters to research and come up with a strategy to address the situation.
He said Nigeria had a lot of goods to export to China including agricultural products and hardwood but added that strategy was needed.
“We can even do without some of the items we are importing from China; we can produce them locally,” he said.
Another export analyst and Lead Consultant, 3T Impex Trade, Mr Bamidele Ayemibo, advised Nigeria to look for products that could be exported to China and ship them to the country.