Dublin, Ireland — Nigeria spent N687.74 billion on the importation of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), also known as petrol, in three months, January to March 2021, according to data released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) is currently the sole importer of petrol for the Nigerian market due to delay in the deregulation of the country’s downstream petroleum industry, which had forced private oil marketers to back out from the importation of the commodity.
The NBS, in its Foreign Trade Statistics for the First Quarter of 2021, revealed that the amount spent on fuel import in the quarter under review, represented a decline of 6.05 per cent when compared with the N732.02 billion spent on the import of the commodity in the first quarter of 2020.
However, the first quarter 2021 fuel import billion was 19.9 per cent higher than the N573.7 billion spent on the importation of the commodity in the fourth quarter of 2020.
Already, the NBS report noted that fuel import bill in the first quarter of 2021 is 34.23 per cent of the N2.01 trillion spent by the country on the import of the same commodity from January to December 2020.
In addition, the NBS disclosed that Premium Motor Spirit was Nigeria’s biggest import in the first quarter of 2021, accounting for 10.04 per cent of Nigeria’s total import in the period under review.
It added that import of petrol accounted for 7.04 per cent of Nigeria’s total foreign trade in the first quarter of 2021.
In general, the NBS explained that Nigeria’s total foreign trade in the first quarter of 2021 appreciated by 6.99 per cent to N9.758 trillion, compared to N9.12 trillion recorded in the fourth quarter of 2020.
It said: “For the first quarter of 2021, Nigeria’s total merchandise trade stood at N9.758 trillion representing 6.99 per cent increase over the value recorded in fourth quarter 2020 and 14.13 per cent compared to first quarter 2020.
“The export component of this trade stood at N2.907 trillion, representing 29.79 per cent of the total trade while import was valued at N6.850 trillion representing 70.21 per cent. The higher level of imports over exports resulted in a trade deficit (in goods) of N3.943 trillion.”
Though it did not state the countries Nigeria mainly imported its petrol from, the NBS disclosed that majority of the goods imported into the country during the quarter originated from China.
The NBS explained that the total value of goods imported from China in the first quarter of 2021 stood at N2.009 trillion, representing 29.34 per cent of Nigeria’s total imports.
The Netherlands, it added, followed, accounting for 10.60 per cent of Nigeria’s total imports, valued at N726.09 billion; while imports from the United States stood at N608.12 billion, representing 8.88 per cent of Nigeria’s total imports.