By Michael Eboh

Nigeria spent N995.835 billion on the importation of Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, also known as petrol, in the first half of 2018, according to latest data released by National Bureau of Statistics, NBS.

The NBS, in its Foreign Trade Statistics for the second quarter of 2018, noted that N277.71 billion was spent on the import of the commodity, also called fuel, in the second quarter of 2018, while N718.125 billion was expended on PMS import in the first quarter of 2018.

Data obtained from the report revealed that Nigeria’s fuel import bill in the first half of 2018 rose by 36.2 per cent compared with N730.925 billion spent on the importation of the commodity in the second half of 2017.

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However, the amount spent on fuel import in the first six months of 2018, was 26.3 per cent lower compared to fuel import bill of N1.351 trillion recorded in the first half of 2017.

In addition, the report noted that total mineral oil import, comprising fuel and lubricants stood at N1.237 trillion in the period under review, with N426.939 billion and N845.118 billion recorded in the first and second quarters respectively.

On a quarter-on-quarter basis, the NBS report stated that the total value of imports into Nigeria in the second quarter stood at N2.106 trillion, of which N426.9 billion imports were mineral fuel, representing 20.26 per cent of the total import.

It added that machinery and transport equipment import stood at N600.6 billion, representing 28.5 per cent of total import in the second quarter, while Chemical and Related Products imports accounted for 7.7 per cent of total imports.

It said: “Asia, Europe and America continued to dominate as import destination into Nigeria in the reviewing quarter, accounting for 44.4 per cent, 38.3 per cent and 10.5 per cent respectively.

“In the second quarter, the top five import destinations for Nigeria was China, Netherlands, Belgium, India and United States which respectively accounted for N531.6 billion or 25.2 per cent, N181 billion or 8.6 per cent, N170.9 billion or 8.1 per cent, N145.0 billion or 6.9 per cent and N141.5 billion or 6.7 per cent.

“Import trade from African countries stood at N109.1 billion or 5.2 per cent while imports from the region of ECOWAS amounted to N14.2 billion or 0.4 per cent of total imports.”

The report noted that the total value of Nigeria’s merchandise trade was N6.569 trillion in the second quarter of 2018, which was a -8.89 p er cent contraction from N7.211 trillion recorded in the first quarter of 2018 and a 14.56 per cent growth from N5.73 trillion recorded in the second quarter of 2017.

According to the report, the contraction of total trade in the reviewing quarter was mainly driven by the decline in both imports and exports.

It also noted that the trade balance in second quarter 2018 was a surplus of N2.357 trillion, indicating an increase of 8.36 per cent from N2.17 trillion recorded in the first quarter of 2018 and a 399.82 per cent increase from N471.48 billion in first quarter 2017.

The high level of importation is expected to drop in medium and long-term when planned local refineries come on stream.

Recently, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, had disclosed its plans to establish two condensate refineries with a total refining capacity of 200,000 barrels per day at Western Forcados Area and Assah North Ohaji South (ANOH) Areas of Delta and Imo states respectively.

In a statement sent to Vanguard, NNPC had stated, “Natural gas condensate is a low-density mixture of hydrocarbon liquids that are present as gaseous components in the raw natural gas produced from natural gas fields.”

NNPC Group Managing Director, Dr. Maikanti Baru, who made the disclosure at the bid opening for the provision of consultancy services to carry out a feasibility study for the refineries, had stated that the establishment of the green refineries was part of the strategies to eliminate importation of petroleum products and guarantee energy security for the country.

The NNPC GMD had noted that the condensate refineries which would operate along the NLNG model would increase the nation’s revenue base, provide jobs for the people and save for the country a lot of foreign exchange.

He had added that, “the strategic initiative would increase the energy security for the nation and grow the NNPC refining capacity from 445,000 barrels per day to 645,000 barrels per day.

“The condensate refineries are going to be fully on commercial basis and we intend to get partners that would invest. We are willing to get partners and operate in a similar manner with NLNG model where we could just get a majority share but not a controlling share.”

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