The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) recently announced a ban on the importation of maize/corn1. This ban adds maize to the list of 41 other products some of which include rice, cement, margarine, and palm kernel that had earlier been banned2. The embargo comes as a means to further encourage local production, stimulate economic growth as well as secure local jobs and livelihoods. Available data shows that Nigeria imported 400,000 tons of maize in 2019 the same as it did in 20183. However, forex restrictions on the importation of rice, coupled with the closure of the Nigerian land borders to neighboring countries, has seen the country move from a major importer to the largest producer of rice in Africa.4 By extension, it is expected that the addition of maize to the forex restriction list will help to stimulate its domestic production and thus reduce or eliminate dependence on imported maize. Consequently, this effort is also expected to limit domestic demand for forex and curb the exchange rate volatility.
August 12, 2020
Nigeria Economic Update (Issue 28)
Recently released data by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) shows that there was significant increase in Nigerias total merchandise trade for 2016Q3. Basically, the total merchandise trade increased (quarter-on-quarter) by 16.29 percent to N4, 722 billion in 2016Q3;owing to 29.1 percent increase in exports and 6.2 percent rise in imports. Oil exports increased by 31 percent to N1, 943 billion, while non-oil exports increased by 20.5 percent to N440 billion. However, on the aggregate, Nigeria recorded yet another trade deficit of N104 billion, indicating continuous higher imports relative to exports. Overall, though there is improvement in the performance of non-oil sector, however, this is insufficient to effectively complement the loss in oil trade sustained since the beginning of oil price crash. This suggests that diversification into non-oil sector may not be able to rescue the economy in the short term. However, while the diversification efforts should be sustained, eliminating hurdles in oil production may be instrumental to higher exports, especially as oil price increase is gaining momentum.