• Thursday, July 25, 2024
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BusinessDay

Ecowas dominates Nigeria’s non-oil export with $350m intake

cocoa

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is immediately trailing the Netherlands as Nigeria’s topmost non-oil export destination in 2014, recording a trade value of $350.8 million within the year.

ECOWAS came second on the list involving 17 export destinations which also included Italy, Spain, Japan, India, Turkey and Germany, among others; data from Cobalt International Services Limited and the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) have shown.

“ECOWAS has been a big market for Nigeria,” Tunde Oyelola, chairman, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria Export Group told BusinessDay.

“There are 360 million people in the region, meaning we have a very big market. Nigeria is well-placed because between 60 and 70 percent of factories in the sub-region are here,” Oyelola said, in an interview.

BusinessDay’s independent research shows that the major commodities exported to 15 countries of ECOWAS were biscuits, noodles, tobacco products, plastics and rubber, footwear, polybags, milk products, beverages and fruit juices, among others.

Further checks identified countries in ECOWAS where these products moved to, as Ghana, Niger, Cote d’Ivoire, Togo, Benin and Burkina Faso. Others are Guinea, Mali, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Olusegun Awolowo, CEO, NEPC had observed that Nigeria also exports tomato paste, insecticides, iron and steel to ECOWAS, plus all these commodities mentioned earlier.

However, $351 million recorded in 2014 represents a 6.52 percent decline from $375.338 million recorded in 2013.

One interesting thing in the data is that the Netherlands has for the second time in a row, came tops of the non-oil export destinations ‘ chart, having displaced the United States of America in 2013.

The United States came 11th on the list, with non-oil export from Nigeria valued at $81.66 million in 2014 as against $82.73 million recorded in 2013.

The value of export to the Netherlands in 2013 was $583.33 million but declined to $457 million in 2014, owing to headwinds and withdrawal of the Export Expansion Grant, according to analysts.

Michel Deelen, head of the Netherlands representation in Lagos and deputy head of mission in Abuja, told BusinessDay that Nigeria and Holland have been in a good trade relationship in the last two years. Deelen said the country buys mainly cocoa from Nigeria.

“Agriculture is a specific interest that we have in Nigeria. What we have is basically the expertise to increase agricultural production in Nigeria, which is what we export,” Deelen said.

Data on Nigeria’s non-oil export with ECOWAS may be good news for the proponents of the Common External Tariff (CET) who say increased trade among ECOWAS countries and will strengthen the regional economy and economies of individual states.

The Common External Tariff regime is a trade liberalisation scheme involving uniform tariffs, customs union and economic integration across the West African sub-region.

Muda Yusuf, director-general, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry said CET is good for the Nigerian economy, as it affords the country the opportunity to tap into the huge ECOWAS market but added that issues such as high energy and funding cost, awkward regulatory and port related charges, among others, should be addressed if the country is to compete effectively.

ODINAKA ANUDU