Nigeria spent 88.15 billion naira to import rice and raw cane sugar into the country in the last quarter of 2012, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said in its fourth quarter 2012 trade statistics (US$1=155 naira).
According to the report, quoted on Tuesday by the local media, the fourth quarter importation of semi-milled or wholly-milled rice in packaging of more than five kilogrammes or in bulk stood at 56.91 billion naira, while raw cane sugar in solid form was said to have taken 31.24 billion naira.
This came amid a 4.3 per cent decline in external trade from 29.33 trillion naira in 2011 to 28.07 trillion naira in the 2012 fiscal period.
The report also put the total merchandise trade for the fourth quarter of 2012 at 7.185 trillion naira, representing an increase of 6.4 billion or 0.1 per cent over what was recorded in the third quarter of the same year.
“The total value of Nigeria’s external merchandise trade for the fourth quarter of 2012 stood at N7.185tn, showing a slight increase of 6.4 billion naira or 0.1 per cent over the previous quarter.
“At the end of 2012, Nigeria’s external trade was N28.071tn. This was 4.3 per cent lower than the corresponding figure of N29.333tn recorded in 2011,” the report said.
NBS said the development was due to a sharp decrease of 43.1 per cent in the value of imports from N9.89tn in 2011 to N5.62tn in 2012.
In spite of the decrease in the value of imports, experts have lamented that 88 billion naira was still spent on the importation of rice and sugar in the last quarter of the year. They say it shows the country’s dependence on food imports.