The evolution of Nigeria’s business sector from the pre-colonial era into its celebrated status as the ‘Giant of Africa’ had assumed various dimensions of giving and taking especially in a symbiotic structure.
This relationship, observers say, had seen some work in favour of Nigeria’s economy and others from available indices becoming detrimental to the country’s economy.
While the global community grappled with the biting effects of COVID-19 pandemic, Nigeria watched helplessly as its GDP dropped from huge importations especially with the increasing global exchange rates against the naira.
Nigeria as a country had since the discovery of oil diverted its dependence and survival of its blooming agricultural sector to oil.
Succeeding administrations have, over the period, adopted policies that either support domestic production, less importation or vice versa.
Firstly, a look at crude oil importation
Recent statistics of crude oil importations from Nigeria according to #StatiSense showed that India topped the list with N 1.64 trn.
With this figure, the country became fourth on its ranking after Iraq, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates.
Nigeria emerged as the fourth biggest supplier, pushing the United States down to the sixth position just after Brazil.
Other countries that topped the list on highest exporters of crude oil from Nigeria according to statistics include Spain ₦1.02T, Netherlands ₦989.82B, South Africa ₦947.52B, China ₦311.55B.
Others include France ₦280.39B, Italy ₦272.99B, Portugal ₦243.74B, and Turkey at ₦239.9B.
According to ceicdata.com, Nigeria’s crude oil production was reported at 1,382.000 Barrel/Day in Jan 2021. This recorded an increase from the previous number of 1,174.000 Barrel/Day for Dec. 2020.
Data from Nigeria’s Gross Federation Account Revenue showed that oil stood at 953.900 NGN bn in Sep 2020 representing a decrease from the previous number of 1,270.810 NGN bn for June 2020.
This figure however could be majorly influenced by the current economic challenges facing the country due to low oil prices, weakened currency and inflation.
On Importation, #StatiSence reported that top 8 of the commodities brought into the country include PMS ₦1.91T, Used Vehicles ₦840.94B, Durum Wheat ₦756.92B, Vaccines for Human ₦444.61B, Motorcycles ₦416.63B, Gas Oil ₦377.39B, Cane Sugar ₦263.79B, and other Antibiotics ₦217.81B.
The importation of PMS, experts argue, would continously deplete the resources of Nigeria despite the existing of refineries in the country.
Nigeria has four refineries with a combined capacity to process 438,750 b/d of crude. The Kaduna refinery has 110,000 b/d capacity; the Alesa Elema refinery has 60,000 b/d capacity; the Port Harcourt refinery has 150,000 b/d capacity; and the Warri refinery has 118,750 b/d capacity.
The inability of the refineries to meet the crude oil demand of the country has been attributed to inconsistent polices, political gameplays with national resources as baits and Federal Government bureaucratic procedures.
One salient issue that has over the years hampered the productive capacity of these refineries has been insecurity, vandalisation of instalments, militancy and other issues.
This was the view of Kolawole Moses, a security practitioner based in Lagos.
“I saw a video of one of the bombings of a pipeline some years ago and wept for the country. The level of damages suffered by our petroleum sector to militants and vandals is enough to drop Nigeria into the category of importers,” Moses added.
Another huge importation into the country in 2020 is used vehicles.
This huge figure recorded in 2020 could emanate from various factors.
Firstly, Nigeria had a population of close to 180 million and a GDP of US$493 billion in 2015, ranking as the most populous country with the largest economy in Africa.
This huge population figure with transportation needs led to this staggering figure.
With a population of close to 180 million and a GDP of US$493 billion in 2015, Nigeria is the most populous country with the largest economy in Africa.
Kalu Enyioha, a market trends analyst, has said Nigeria’s lack of domestic auto plants could cost Nigerians more money in years to come.
Enyioha said “I feel very bad when Nigeria is been seen by the global community as a dump ground for used vehicles.
“Just look at the technical ability of Nigerians in the automobile industries abroad. This is shameful.
“If the government can make efforts towards the growth of domestic automobile industries and consolidate the efforts of someone like Innoson, I feel the huge revenue lost to vehicle importation and high exchange rates would be reduced,” Enyioha added.
Another issuethat drew widespread criticism was the importation of durum wheat.
This has been regarded as a fallout of an agelong neglect of the green sector which was the mainstay of the nation’s economy before the discovery of oil.
More worrisome, according to observers, is that Nigeria has the capacity to produce wheat for both domestic and export.
While Nigeria counts her losses from the crash in crude oil prices and the biting impact of the COVID-19 pandemic amid a fresh recovery from recession, it is believed that the GDP of the country can be boosted if domestic production exceeds importation.
This could be achieved from a revamp of the manufacturing sector, conscious favorable policies from the Federal Government among other industrialisation policies and fundings.