If the Statistics Bureau’s report on economic outlook for Nigeria 2013-2016 is anything to rely on then reports that Nigerian trade balance has continued to be in the positive should be good news for the dollar defenders. According to the report, total imports decreased by 46.8% (year-on-year) to N1,652.3 billion in the first quarter of 2012. Import values declined further by 57.6% to N1,408.5 billion in the second quarter, and by 42.3% to N1,271.3 billion in the third quarter . According to the report;
“In the first quarter of 2012, total value of exports was valued at ?4,969.7billion, a decrease of ?2,162.5 billion or 30.3% over the values recorded in the Fourth Quarter of 2011. The value of total Export stood at N5,675.5 billion in the Second quarter of 2012, due to a rise in non- oil exports during the quarter which increased by 69.7% to N2,127.1 billion during the period. In the third quarter of 2012, exports further increased by 4.1%, partly from a rise in crude oil exports which increased by N616.4billion or 17.4% to N4,164.8 billion in the corresponding period. By the end of the third quarter of 2012, exports had increased to N12,308.2 billion, an increase of 34.5% from levels recorded over the same period in 2011, driven by both crude oil and non-crude oil exports. Oil exports increased by 9.6 percent to N11, 429.3 million, while non-oil exports increased by more than double levels recorded in 2011 to N5,124.1 million”.
For clarity a positive trade balance where exports exceed imports is a good economic indicator for a country as it shows that the country receives far more foreign exchange than it spends and therefore is able to defend its local currency. It also shows the ability of the country to grow its local production sector which is a very good metric for sound economic growth. However, much of the exports (69%) was from crude oil even though the report shows marked improvements in the non-oil sector. With an enabling environment complimented with super infrastructures, Nigeria will likely export more non-oil products which by no small means will usher in the industrial revolution that we sought.