Nigeria’s Non-Oil Exports Dip to $4.5 Billion in 2023

Diverse Product Range Grows Amidst Economic Challenges

by Oluwatosin Racheal Alabi

In 2023, despite concerted efforts by the Nigerian government to boost the economy through non-oil exports, the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) reported a decrease in these exports. The figures fell from $4.8 billion in 2022 to $4.5 billion in the past year, as disclosed by Nonye Ayeni, the NEPC Chief Executive Officer, during a presentation in Abuja.

This decline has been attributed to various factors, including product rejections, inadequate certification, political turmoil in neighboring African nations, fluctuating exchange rates, and increased global trade competition. Ayeni emphasized that these challenges have hindered the growth and potential of Nigeria’s non-oil export sector.

Despite the overall downturn, there was a notable increase in the diversity of exported products. The NEPC reported a 28.04% increase in the variety of items shipped abroad, encompassing manufactured goods, semi-processed items, solid minerals, and agricultural commodities. This expansion indicates a positive move towards diversifying Nigeria’s export portfolio.

In terms of specific products, Ayeni highlighted that urea, cocoa, sesame seeds, soybeans and soy meals, cashew nuts and kernels, aluminum ingots, and hibiscus flowers were among the top 20 exported commodities in 2023. Urea and fertilizers led the pack, constituting 20.1% of total exports, followed by cocoa beans at 13.19%, and sesame seeds at 9.03%.

The report also shed light on the role of corporate entities in this export landscape. Indorama Eleme Fertilizer and Chemical Limited emerged as the leading exporter with a value of $524.33 million, closely followed by Dangote Fertilizer Limited at $383.07 million. These figures underscore the significant contribution of private companies to Nigeria’s non-oil export sector.

Moreover, the banking sector played a crucial role in facilitating these exports. According to the report, 32 banks were involved in the establishment of NXP forms for export in 2023, with a total of 21,390 NXP forms processed. Zenith Bank Plc led in this area, processing 39.09% of these forms, while United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc and First Bank of Nigeria Plc handled 10.55% and 9.88%, respectively.

Ayeni urged financial institutions to further engage with the non-oil export sector, particularly in light of the opportunities presented by the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). She highlighted the potential for banks to support exporters in increasing their capacity and accessing international markets, thereby enhancing Nigeria’s position in the global trade arena.

This report not only provides a detailed assessment of Nigeria’s non-oil export performance in 2023 but also points to the areas that need attention for future growth. While the decline in export values raises concerns, the increase in product diversity and the involvement of significant corporate and financial players suggest a dynamic sector with potential for recovery and expansion. The NEPC’s analysis and recommendations could serve as a roadmap for stakeholders in enhancing Nigeria’s non-oil export sector in the coming years.

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