Nigeria imported motor spirit ordinary, otherwise known as petrol worth N782.5 billion in the second quarter of 2021, representing a 799% year-on-year increase compared to N87.08 billion recorded in the corresponding period of 2020.

This is according to the recently released foreign trade report by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). The petrol import recorded is 14% higher than N687.74 billion recorded in the previous quarter, and also represents the highest petrol import value recorded since Q3 2018.

Recall that Nigeria’s foreign trade increased to N12.03 trillion in Q2 2021, from N9.76 trillion and N6.37 trillion recorded in Q1 2021 and Q2 2020 respectively. However, it recorded a trade deficit of N1.87 trillion in the period as imports (N6.95 trillion) surpassed export value of N5.08 trillion.

Meanwhile, Nigeria exported crude oil valued at N4.08 trillion in the review period compared to N1.93 trillion recorded in Q1 2021, largely due to the positive rally recorded in the global crude oil market.

A cursory look at the data shows that Nigeria’s petrol import dipped significantly to a record low of N87.08 billion in the second quarter of 2020 due to the effect of the covid-19 pandemic, which necessitated lockdown measures across most countries of the world.

Meanwhile, the cost of petrol continues to increase across the country, as latest data from the National Bureau of Statistics revealed that the average cost of petrol per litre increased by 15.51% year-on-year in July 2021 to sell for an average of N165.91.

Despite the huge cost of petrol import, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation stated in its recent report that it incurred a sum of N756.99 billion in petroleum subsidy between January and July 2021.

Other items imported by Nigeria in the review period include Durum wheat (N324.72 billion), used vehicle (N172.1 billion), Gas oil (N152.5 billion), and Machines for reception (N142.4 billion).

What you should know

Petrol import represented the highest import recorded in the period under review, accounting for 11% of the total import. Meanwhile, the kickstart Dangote Refinery is expected to solve the problem of petrol import in Nigeria, with a capacity to produce 650,000 barrels of petrol per day.