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Netherlands displaces US as Nigeria’s topmost non-oil importer

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The Netherlands has displaced the United States of America (USA) as Nigeria’s topmost non-oil importer by the end of 2013. The Western European nation’s total non-oil import from Nigeria was $583.334 million, while that of the US was only $82.73 million within the period, data from the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) has revealed.

Within the period under review, cocoa was the largest non-oil export, occupying 36 percent of the total volume. The total value of this commodity was $758.640 million.

“This was followed by sheep, goat skin and leather and sesame seeds. Others are copper, cashew nuts and woven fabrics,’’ said the report, released to BusinessDay, during an interactive session between Nigerian Export Promotion Council and the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria Export Promotion Group (MANEG).

Nigeria is currently the largest economy in Africa, with a GDP of $510 billion. The rebasing exercise undertaken last week by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has moved the country ahead of South Africa, with $370 billion economic size. This equally positions Nigeria as the 26th largest economy in the world.

A World Bank data showed that by 2012, the US was the country’s topmost importer with 16.8 percent of the country’s products moving in that direction. India was second with 12.1 percent, while Netherlands was third with 8.6 percent. Spain and Brazil came fourth and fifth with 7.8 percent and 7.6 percent, respectively. The United Kingdom and Germany came sixth and seventh with 5.1 percent and 4.9 percent, respectively. Japan and France were eight and ninth with 4.1 percent each.

However, it was pointed out that 95 percent of these imports were petroleum and petroleum products.

Commodities such as cocoa, rubber, processed food, among others, merely made up the 5 percent. “The Export Expansion Grant (EEG) is being implemented in various parts of the world. China, India, Brazil, New Zealand, among others, have their respective subsidies designed to promote and grow the countries’ exports,’’ said Tunde Oyelola, group chairman, MANEG, while calling on the Federal Government to engage stakeholders in the review of the EEG scheme, which was introduced to reduce the cost of production of non-oil exporters and enhance competitiveness of their products.

“We would like to bring to the fore the Brazilian Export Expansion Grants that have made Brazil what it is today in the global market. In 1968, Brazil export was slightly higher than $1 billion a year. After the introduction of the Brazilian version of Export Grant, with across-the-board incentive rates of 30 percent, Brazil witnessed astronomical growth in the exports of its products all over the world. In 2012, Brazil with a GDP of $2.479 trillion recorded a total export value of $243 billion, representing 9.8 percent of its GDP,’’ he stated.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) 2012 non-oil exports data showed Memuda Industries sold $82.3 million worth of finished leather to Italy, while Notore sold $45.5 million worth of ammonia and fertilisers to Morocco and Uruguay. Multitan’s export were $36 million, as Everest Metal Ltd’s reached $33.7 million. West African Cotton Company Ltd made $29.8 million.

Dansa Food Processing Ltd realised $32 million, whereas Dangote Agrosacks Ltd made $0.39 million. Armajaro and the West African Cotton Ltd, which traded in cotton, gained as earnings rose by $70 million and 20 million, respectively