Nigeria records worst trade deficit in two decades

March 9, 2021
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Nigeria recorded its worst trade deficit in at least 20 years in the fourth quarter of 2020, a report by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has shown.

According to the 2020 fourth quarter Foreign Trade in Goods Statistics report released by the statistics bureau on Tuesday, Nigeria’s annual merchandise trade deficit in 2020 stood at -N7.37 trillion.

PREMIUM TIMES’ analysis of the data shows that aside that it represents the second trade deficit recorded since 2014, last year’s balance of trade figure is the worst recorded by the nation since at least 2000.

The NBS in its report said in the fourth quarter of 2020, Nigeria’s total merchandise trade stood at N9.12 trillion, representing 8.9 per cent over the level recorded in the third quarter of 2020.

However, the figure was 9.9 per cent lower when compared to the fourth quarter of 2019.

The value of trade in the fourth quarter was the highest recorded over the past year, the NBS said.

The export component of trade stood at N3.19 trillion, an increase of 6.7 per cent over the preceding quarter but a drop of 33 per cent over the previous year. But the share of exports in total trade declined to 35 per cent in Q4 2020 from 47% a year earlier, the report said.

“On the other hand, total imports reached a record high at N5.92 trillion in Q4 2020, an increase of 10.1% over the preceding quarter, and 10.8% over the preceding year,” it said.

Imports also accounted for 65 per cent of total trade in Q4 2020, compared to 53 per cent the previous year.

ALSO READ: Nigeria’s foreign trade stands at N23.2 trn – NBS

As the value of imports nearly doubled the value of exports, the NBS said trade deficit rose to its highest level and a fifth consecutive quarterly deficit at -N2.73 trillion in Q4 2020, an increase of 14.30 per cent compared to the preceding quarter.

Annual figures

On an annual basis, total trade was valued at N32.4 trillion in 2020, or 10.3 per cent less than the value recorded in 2019.

While the value of total imports in 2020 stood at N19.8 trillion, which is 17.3 per cent higher than in 2019, the NBS said total exports was valued at N12.5 trillion billion, or 34.8 per cent less than in 2019.

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“The annual merchandise trade deficit in 2020 was recorded at -N7,375.3billion,” the report said.

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