Nigeria’s import from China rose by 183.91% from N530.98bn in the first quarter of 2018 to N1.51tn in Q1 2022. China is responsible for most of the imports into Nigeria- National Bureau of Statistics data on foreign trade. In the five quarters under review, China was the number one nation on the top 10 countries.
While China is responsible for the bulk of the nation’s imports, export to China is negligible according to available data. The country was missing from the nation’s top 10 export destination in Q1 2018 – Q1 2020, and Q1 2022. Only in Q1 2021 did China rank on the top 10 export destination when it ranked third with N190.11bn. In the same quarter, total imports from China were put at N2.01tn.
Imports from China grew across the quarters under review. In Q1 2018, it was N530.98bn, it grew to N979.29bn in Q1 2019, and N1.11tn in Q1 2020. It was highest in Q1 2021 at N2.01tn and dropped to N1.51tn in Q1 2022. In Q1 2022, imports to China accounted for 25.55 % of the total import (N5.90tn). 2021, it was 29.34 per cent of the total imports (N6.85tn). In Q1 2020, it was 26.28% of the total import (N4.22tn), in Q1 2019, it was 26.4% of total imports (N3.70tn), and 21.1 per cent of the total imports (N2.52tn) in Q1 2018.
Consumer goods imports rose by 109.25% amid dollar shortage. Nigeria imports N109bn anti-malarial drugs in six months, local pharmaceuticals struggle. Nigeria’s imports rise by N12.11tn despite forex shortage. “If Nigeria is exporting a certain quantity worth of goods and services and importing another quantity of goods and services from another country, the issue is what is the next difference with net import and export. There is no requirement as to which country is responsible for this. It doesn’t matter where the deficit is as long as there is an overall surplus.”
In recent years, the bilateral relationship between Nigeria and China has improved. In the period under review, Nigeria’s borrowing from China increased by 89.94 per cent to hit $3.67bn, making it the nation’s largest bilateral lender. According to the Debt Management Office, about $3.12bn of the loans from China are project-tied and include 11 projects such as the Nigerian Railway Corporation’s modernisation project, Abuja Light Rail project, Four Nigerian airports’ terminals expansion project (Abuja, Kano, Lagos, and Port Harcourt), and more.