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The latest trade data recently released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), contains some interesting information about the products that were imported and exported by Nigeria during the first quarter of 2019.

The report contains the list of the top traded items between Nigeria and her major trade partners around the world. Let us now take a look at the top ten items Nigeria imported and exported in Q1 2019.

export million

source: National Bureau of Statistics (Q1 2019).

Total trade during the first quarter rose by 2.5% to N8.24 trillion from the initial figure of N8.03 trillion obtained during the last quarter (Q4 2018). Similarly, the total trade value grew by 7.52% relative to the corresponding quarter of 2018.  This shows that the value of total imports rose by 3.39% during the quarter under review.

In the same vein, the value of exports in Q1, 2019 increased by 1.78% against the level obtained in the last quarter of 2018. It, however, fell by 3.90% against the value recorded in Q1, 2018.

import billion

The standard international trade classification reveals that Nigeria’s exports were majorly dominated by raw materials (specifically crude oil exports), which contributed N3.38 billion to the total value of exports which is about 74.45%. On the other hand, the imports were dominated by the laboratory, hygienic or pharmaceutical glassware, with a 13.96% contribution to total imports during the period.

What this means: A critical analysis of the data shows that the country is still very much import-dependent. This is seen from the above table which shows that the value of imports has been on the rise over the last four years.

In the first quarter of 2016, the country’s import value was documented at N1.7 trillion, which increased in the following year (2017) and same quarter, where the value climbed to N2.3 trillion. Q1 2018 was no difference, as the imports value jumped to another high of N2.9 trillion naira. The first quarter of 2019 witnessed imports value soaring to N3.7 trillion.

Year on Year Trade Summary


Meanwhile, exports within the four years period under review in this section is witnessing a steady rise in the value of exports year on year. This shows a N1.43 trillion in Q1 2016, N3.0 trillion in 2017, N4.72 trillion in 2018, while the year 2019, Q1 witnessed a slight fall of about 4% to N4.5 trillion from the N4.7 trillion obtained in 2018.

The baseline from this analysis indicates that with the surge in the exports value of Nigeria during the period under review, more revenue flowed towards investors within the oil sector. This can be attributed to the movement of Brent crude price in the global oil market.

Also, a positive trade balance (trade surplus) indicates a favourable balance of payments in the capital account.

The advantage of this to Nigeria is that local businesses will gain international recognition through the export of their produce. This in turn, adds to the nation’s gross domestic product, increase employment and also influence output and economic growth.


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