China to Nigeria :  Imports Rise By 183.91%, Debts Hit $3.67bn

According to the National Bureau of Statistics data on foreign trade, Nigeria’s import from China rose by 183.91 percent from N530.98 billion in the first quarter of 2018 to N1.51tn in Q1 2022.

NBS said China is responsible for most of the imports into Nigeria. In the five quarters under review, China was the number one nation in the top 10 countries.

However, while import from China to Nigeria is on the increase, the country was missing from the nation’s top 10 export destinations in Q1 2018 – Q1 2020, and Q1 2022.

Only in Q1 2021 did China rank in the top 10 export destinations when it ranked third with N190.11bn. In the same quarter, total imports from China were put at N2.01tn.

Imports from China grew across the quarters under review. In Q1 2018, it was N530.98bn, it grew to N979.29bn in Q1 2019, and N1.11tn in Q1 2020.

It was highest in Q1 2021 at N2.01tn and dropped to N1.51tn in Q1 2022. According to the NBS, imports from China include motorcycles, machines for reception of voice, electrical apparatus for line telephony, or line telegraphy, mackerel, parts of machinery for working on rubber or plastics, crude salt, compressed salt used in animal feeding, antibiotics, herbicides and more.

Nigeria’s exports to China in the period under review included, polyethylene, leather, sesamum seeds, cashew nuts, zinc ores and concentrates, lead ores and concentrates, and more.

In Q1 2022, imports to China accounted for 25.55 per cent of the total import (N5.90tn). In Q1 2021, it was 29.34 per cent of the total imports (N6.85tn). In Q1 2020, it was 26.28 per cent of the total import (N4.22tn), in Q1 2019, it was 26.4 percent of total imports (N3.70tn), and 21.1 per cent of the total imports (N2.52tn) in Q1 2018.

Alos, in recent years, the bilateral relationship between Nigeria and China has improved. In the period under review, Nigeria’s borrowing from China increased by 89.94 per cent to hit $3.67bn, making it the nation’s largest bilateral lender.

According to the Debt Management Office, about $3.12bn of the loans from China are project-tied and include 11 projects such as the Nigerian Railway Corporation’s modernisation project, Abuja Light Rail project, Four Nigerian airports’ terminals expansion project (Abuja, Kano, Lagos, and Port Harcourt), and more.

Kehinde Ogunyale

Freelance Investigative and Data Journalist

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