The National Bureau of Statistics reported that the cost of importing manufactured products during the first half of 2023 was at least $6.7 billion.
The Punch reported that the value of manufactured products traded in the first half of the year was N2.5tn, according to a review of the NBS’s data on foreign trade statistics.
Over the past few years, manufacturers have claimed in a variety of forums that roughly 95% of their foreign exchange requirements were met on the black market, where the dollar was typically exchanged for 750 Naira.
According to NBS data, the country imported manufactured products worth roughly $2.9 billion (N2.39 trillion) in Q1.
On the other hand, in Q1, exports made up merely 131 billion Naira (9.7% of total commerce), suggesting that the majority of trade in manufactured goods – N2.3 trillion was imported.
Many exporters have blamed the low export returns on their failure to remit money through banks.
In contrast to the $6.7 billion in imports during the same period, this brings the total manufactured items exported to $285 million.
A deeper review of the statistics revealed that, in the second quarter of the year, the value of manufactured products exchanged was N3.2 trillion, with imports accounting for N3 trillion and the export component for just 93 percent (N212 billion) of total commerce.
Accordingly, $3.8 billion was spent on importing manufactured products, whereas $461 million was earned through exports of manufactured goods and returned home.
In the first half of the year, manufacturing imports totaled at least $6.7 billion, whereas manufacturing exports only brought in $746 million.
Used vehicles from the United States and the United Arab Emirates with diesel or semi-diesel engines, equipment for the receiving, conversion, and transmission of voice, pictures, or data from China, and ‘Other medicines not otherwise defined’ from India were the main imports during this time.
The president of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria stated that exporting manufacturers are typically unable to compete with their overseas rivals due to concerns bordering on high production costs.
He urged the government to investigate the reasons why manufacturers are unable to export as anticipated and said that it may do so through a roundtable.
“They can look at the things that have the potential to be profitable and inquire as to what the export barriers are. We must expand our export market. It ought to be strong.
“We earn more foreign currency when we export more. And the more foreign currency we generate, the more resources we have to meet our import requirements,” the MAN president said.
Meshioye continued by pleading with the government to implement measures that would inspire and promote manufacturing.
“If we encourage manufacturing investments, we will undoubtedly produce more things. Therefore, these goods will leave Nigeria lawfully, and we will get foreign exchange to support the naira, he continued.
The excessive reliance of Nigeria on imports, according to the CEO of the Centre for the Promotion of Private Enterprise, Muda Yusuf, has exacerbated the protracted forex problem that has plagued the country’s economy.
In order to increase exports and bring home more foreign exchange earnings, he continued, there needs to be more focus on import substitution and capitalizing on the country’s competitive advantage.