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01
March
2022

Nigeria’s N993.38bn imports from Russia at risk over war

The value of Russia’s imports to Nigeria over 12 months period is estimated at N993.38bn, data from the National Bureau of Statistics have shown.

Specifically, the NBS statistics put the value of imports from Russia between the third quarter of 2020 and the corresponding period in 2021 at N993.38bn.

Russia is among Nigeria’s top 10 import trade partners between the third quarter of 2020 and the corresponding period in 2021. However, the N993.38bn trade is at risk as the Russia and Ukraine war persists.

Within the period under review, Nigeria imported four main items from Russia, namely durum wheat, herrings, blue whitings, and mackerel, according to the report.

 In Q3 2020, durum wheat worth N46.56bn, mackerel worth N13.76bn, and blue whitings worth N1.57bn were imported from Russia.

During the quarter, Russia was the second leading exporter of durum wheat to Nigeria, the first for mackerel, and the third for blue whitings.

The foreign trade statistics document from the NBS further showed that the total imports from Russia were N154.21bn cumulatively, about 2.87 per cent of Nigeria’s import trade value for the period, with Russia being the seventh import trading partner for Nigeria.

Russia maintained its position as the seventh import trading partner for Nigeria in Q4 2020 with an import trade value of N162.62bn cumulatively, which was 2.74 per cent of the country’s total import trade value.

In Q4 2020, durum wheat worth N62.9bn, mackerel worth N2.27bn, and herrings worth N6.59bn were imported from Russia. Also, Nigeria imported N4.82bn vaccines for human medicine from Russia.

Russia was the top exporter of wheat to Nigeria, the second for herrings, and the third for mackerel in Q4, 2020. It was the fifth import trade partner for vaccines for human medicine.

By Q1 2021, Nigeria imported N15.8bn herrings and N37.20bn durum wheat from Russia. Russia was the top import trading partner for herrings and fourth for wheat.

Nigeria imported N27.23bn blue whitings and N4.18bn mackerel from Russia in Q2 2021. Russia was not mentioned among Nigeria’s top wheat providers for this quarter.

The foreign trade statistics document from the NBS further showed that the import from Russia was N284.36bn cumulatively, which was 4.09 per cent of the total import trade value, with Russia being the fifth import trading partner for Nigeria.

Russia dropped to the sixth import trading partner for Nigeria in Q3 2021 with an import trade value of N339.19bn cumulatively, which was 4.16 per cent of the total import trade value

In Q3 2021, durum wheat worth N86.75bn and mackerel worth N30.69bn were imported from Russia.

Russia was the top importer of mackerel for Nigeria and second for durum wheat in this quarter.

A total of N232.41bn was spent on durum wheat imports from Russia, and N102.09bn on fishes, such as herrings, blue whitings, and mackerel.

Meanwhile, Nigeria’s import from Ukraine is also at risk as the crisis persists, the Punch has learnt.

According to the United Nations Comtrade Database on International trade in 2020, Nigeria spent $156.08m on imports from Ukraine. The database also showed that import from Russia was $1.24bn for that year.

 Nigeria may be forced to shift attention to other countries for the import of commodities like cereals, mineral fuel, oil distillation products, fish, iron and steel, fertilizers, amongst others.

Experts predict inflation, others over import disruptions

Meanwhile, economic analysts and experts have said Nigerians may experience a further rise in inflation over possible disruption in the import of wheat, fish, and other commodities from Russia and Ukraine.

A professor of Economics and Public Policy at the University of Uyo, Akpan Ekpo, said if the conflict between Russia and Ukraine persists, Nigeria’s imports from the two countries may be affected.

He added that this would likely lead to inflation and more hardship for Nigerians.

He said, “If Nigeria can’t import wheat anymore or other products that we import from Russia due to sanctions, it is very likely like the prices of products made from wheat or with wheat will rise in the medium to long term. This of course will increase inflation and create more hardship for the average Nigerian.”

He stressed the need for the country to boost domestic wheat production to meet up with local consumption and export opportunities.

He said, “Definitely, the war will have negative impacts, economically. But with every crisis, there is always an opportunity.

“In this case, the upside for Nigeria is that we exploit this problem by intensifying our local wheat production so that we don’t depend on imports. If we do it rightly, we will not only be able to meet our local demands but we can boost our trade earnings by exporting wheat to countries that were dependent on Russia or Ukraine for their wheat.”

According to the President, Premium Bread-Makers of Nigeria, Emmanuel Onuorah, if the crisis persists, Nigeria may have to turn to other trade partners for the affected commodities.

He said, “Certainly. It will affect the wheat price and its availability. It will affect it because the international price of oil has spiked.  You (Russia) can’t export anything because all the export channels are shut. The quantum that is coming from Russia will certainly impact wheat supply to Nigeria, but you know Nigeria does not only buy from Russia, but they also buy from Canada, they buy from the US, and from Brazil.”

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