Nigeria recorded a total of N15.69 trillion trade deficit in manufactured goods in the last three years.
Data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) shows that Nigeria depends heavily on imports to meet local demand for manufactured goods.
From 2016 to 2018, Nigeria spent N16.75tn to import manufactured goods, being N10.29tn higher than the N6.46tn budgeted for capital projects for the three-year period.
Nigeria budgeted N1.59tn for capital expenditure in 2016, N2tn in 2017 and N2.87tn for the same purpose in 2018.
However, the country spent N4.65tn on manufactured goods import in 2016, N4.65tn in 2017 and N7.46tn in 2018, translating to a total of N16.75tn for the three years.
In contrast, Nigeria gained N1.06tn from manufactured goods export from 2016 to 2018, and this translates to about five per cent of the country’s total imports during the period.
In 2016, Nigeria earned 182.96bn from export of manufactured goods and the value increased to N232.06bn in 2017 and rose further to N645.74bn in 2018.
The huge trade imbalance is largely as a result of Nigeria’s moribund manufacturing industry that has left Nigerians depending on China for most consumables.
The Minister of Trade and Investment, Dr. Okechukwu Enelamah, said Nigeria was making effort to deepen industrialisation, reduce imports and increase exports.
On industrialisation, Dr. Enelamah said the ministry had aggressively been implementing the Nigeria Industrial Revolution Plan (NIRP) and that the establishment of the Nigeria Industrial Policy and Competitiveness Advisory Council (NIPCAC) was yielding results.
The minister said, to accelerate NIRP, work had continued on Project MINE (Made in Nigeria for Export) to aid structural transformation of the Nigerian economy by increasing the manufacturing sector’s contribution to the GDP to 20 per cent by 2025; contribute to sustainable inclusive growth by creating 1.5 million new direct manufacturing jobs in the initial phase; and to increase and diversify FOREX earnings to at least $30bn annually by 2025, by increasing manufacturing sector exports.
He said special economic zones such as the pilot phase of Enyimba Economic City, Funtua Cotton Cluster and Lekki Model Industrial Park would increase exports from Nigeria.
He said the council had made many high-level interventions to address industrial sector issues such as electricity supply, broadband penetration and access roads.
He cited the recent Road Infrastructure Development and Refurbishment Investment Tax Credit Scheme under which the private sector has committed to sponsoring the construction or rehabilitation of road projects across the country.
He said MSMEs were key to industrialisation and economic growth, and that the ministry had made noticeable improvement in the access to finance for this category of investors.