Over the last decade, there has been a serious debate over the issue of importation and exportation and their effects on the Nigerian economy. In the long run most experts and professionals have not ceased to point out that the massive importation embarked by Nigeria is killing the country’s economy.
What is Importation? According to Cambridge dictionary, importation is the process or business of bringing goods into a country from another. And according to WIKIPEDIA, imports are goods and products brought into a jurisdiction especially across national borders from and external sources.
The Nigerian market is filled with imported goods whether they are original or fake and durable or non-durable. Nigeria is in the business of importing almost everything ranging from food stuff to industrial machines. This has made Nigeria an import dependent country.
According to Economic Complexity Index (ECI), as of 2015, Nigeria spent about $39.5 billion on importation, making it the 53rd largest importer in the world. Can you imagine that Nigeria imports most of her commodities?
“Massive importation of food, especially rice, wheat, sugar and fish has continued to bleed the nation’s economy with this four items accounting for a whopping ₦1trillion loss to the nation annually” says the Executive Secretary, Agricultural Research Council, ARCN, Prof. Baba Abubakar. He also said that Nigeria is the highest importer of the US hard red and white wheat worth ₦635 billion annually, world number 2 importer of rice at ₦356 billion, ₦217 billion on sugar and ₦97 billion on fish.
With the statistics above, it is no longer news that the country, Nigeria is spending so much on the importation of just food.
Dangote says that “ninety-eight percent of all the milk and dairy products we consumed in Nigeria are imported”. He goes on to say that “by 2020, it is estimated that the Nigerian population would have risen to between 207 million and 2010 million, if we do not make efforts to grow our own food, God forbid, we will go hungry”.
With the statement of Dangote, one of the richest in the world, it is a sad thing to know that Nigeria is actually so dependent on imported goods. What if something happens today and we cannot afford to import the last thing as food, what will that mean for us, what will be our loss, what will we do, how will we survive such harsh economic condition, will we die of hunger? God forbid!
Nigeria is blessed with a variety of natural resources and a vast mass of land all over the country. And most of the massive agricultural land has been left uncultivated for ages. If the nation can amass our wealth of natural resources, it will surely boost our economy.
One might say that importation is very good as Nigeria cannot produce all goods, while it may be true that Nigeria cannot produce all goods, it will be worthwhile to know that spending the nation’s money on goods that can be sourced locally has adverse effects.
Most of the products that are highly imported are products that we can produce and export to gain more foreign exchange. In this time that the nation’s economy has suffered a down-turn, it will be necessary for us to take concrete steps to reduce the rate at which we import goods from other countries and invest in our own production which can be a very good economic strategy to resuscitate the collapsed economy of Nigeria.
According to Omoh Gabriel, Business editor, Nigerians have continued to spend the nation’s foreign reserves in the importation of finished consumer products that could be sourced locally.
Importation makes it hard for people to gain employment because most of these products are processed abroad and Nigerians are left with nothing to do. There will be lack of knowledge and expertise in the production of these goods because there is no way the products are produced near the country for citizens to learn.
The country’s economic growth will deteriorate because there will be no greater competitive advantage. It decreases the foreign exchange reserves held in the nation’s central bank.
Nigeria should train farmers and equip them with the necessary machines and capital to cultivate our vast agricultural lands so that we can produce our own foods. Factories should be built with proper facilities for processing our products because this will go a long way to boost our economy.