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Nigeria urged to increase non-oil exports to Germany

Nigeria has been urged to find ways of improving and increasing its non-oil export to Germany.

The hint that Germany may be in need of more Nigerian products other than crude oil products came at a business gathering between German and Nigerian companies which held talks on deepening trade and investment ties between the two countries.

Germany’s acting consul general in Nigeria, Bernd Von Munchow-Pohl said Nigeria’s export activities to Germany are dominated by oil as 70 percent of Nigeria’s export to Germany is gulped by oil.

“There are some agricultural cultural products, there are also increasingly some food products, but I think we would like to see more non-oil products, Munchow-Pohl said.

Nigeria recorded a decline in trade in 2020 thanks to the pandemic. The value of Nigeria’s total trade, according to the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics (NBS), stood at N8,304.8billion in Q1,2020. This was 17.94 percent lower than the value recorded in Q4,2019 but 0.80 percent higher than the value recorded in Q1,2019.

The import component of this trade was valued at N4,221.9billion or 50.8 percent while the export component totalled N4,082.9billion indicating 49.2 percent of the total trade.

Crude oil accounted for N2,944.6billion representing 72.12 percent of total exports in Q1,2020. The value of crude oil export was 18.86 percent less than the value recorded in Q4, 2019, and 12.80 percent lower than the value recorded in the corresponding quarter of 2019.

Non-crude oil exports were valued at N1,138.3billion representing 27.9 export of total exports during the period under review.

Read also: Nigeria’s hope is non-oil and $1trn services export market – Awolowo

Munchow-Pohl believes there is great potential for Nigeria to achieve diversification in its, but it would require some investments, and also need supporting policies from the government to enable exporters to function so that the country would be less dependent on oil exports.

“In order to be less dependent on oil, it’s a question of the regulatory framework. What policies do you have in place that enable the production of certain things vis-à-vis importing them? It’s a policy framework and that is up to the government of Nigeria to make these happen,” Munchow-Pohl said told BusinessDay at the 9th German-Nigerian Business Forum (GNBF).

Organised by the German Industry and Commerce in Nigeria, the GNBF is a bilateral forum established to facilitate business relations between Nigerian and German companies.

The three-day forum, which started yesterday, brought together the right business partners, to talk about different business segments, different industries, technologies, innovation, and finance to promote trade relations between the two countries.

This year, panels and presentations focused on construction, finance, sustainability, energy and environment, food security, agribusiness, the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), and many others.

“We’ve dedicated sessions for those industry areas to really make sure that the right people meet in the same room at the same time, said Katharina Felgenhauer, delegate of German Industry and Commerce in Nigeria.

Felgenhauer, while emphasising that Germany and Nigeria have maintained strong trade relations over the years, noted that in the last two years those trade relations have been greatly affected by the covid-19 pandemic by interruptions, supply chain, travel restrictions, and the general economic downturn.

She believes that Nigeria is an interesting and important market for German businesses, and despite Covid-19 shock, it is coming back strong.

“Nigeria is coming is back strong so, we’re here to accompany that process and make sure that German business partners take part and support this “coming back strong,” she said.

In his keynote address, Access Bank’s group managing director, Herbert Wigwe also expressed optimism that Nigeria will witness economic growth evidenced prior to the pandemic with stronger partnerships and collaborations between governments and private institutions.

“Not just in international trade volumes, but in local capacity which will provide employment and grow the local economy,” Wigwe adds.

The event was well attended by high-profile business persons and delegates and also sponsored by Siemens Energy, Access Bank, Aliko Dangote Foundation, Lagos Free Zone, and others.

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