Despite the shortage of foreign exchange (FOREX), Nigeria’s imports have been rapidly increasing. According to data from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), between 2016 and 2021 Nigeria’s import bill rose from N8.73tn to of N20.84tn.

This implies that within the five-year period, imports into the country rose by N12.11tn or 129.10 per cent.

The CBN data show that the nation’s imports have been rapidly increasing since 1980.

The CBN stated that Nigeria’s import bill rose from $16.65bn in 1980 to $67.05bn in 2014, a development that has had negative impact on the country’s exchange rate.

According to a financial report released last month, Nigeria’s rapidly growing appetite for imported goods, among other things, creates a large demand for the United States dollar while supply remains poor.

This factor contributes to the continuous deprecation of the naira against the dollar, the report noted.

An analysis of data from the Nigeria Bureau of Statistics showed that in Q1 2016, Nigeria imported goods worth N1.45tn, the figure rose to N2.06tn in Q2, N2.41tn in Q3 and further to N2.51tn in Q4.

Meanwhile, a breakdown of total imports in 2021 revealed that in Q1 2021, Nigeria imported N6.85tn worth of goods and N6.95tn in Q2.

The country’s quarterly import bill rose sharply in Q3 to N8.13tn but fell to N5.94tn in Q4.

Further analysis of the foreign trade report by the NBS revealed that total exports for 2021 was N18.91tn, creating a trade deficit of N1.94tn.

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