The document was signed by the Statistician-General of the Federation, Dr. Yemi Kale, and it estimated the fourth quarter importation of semi-milled or wholly-milled rice in packaging of more than five kilogrammes or in bulk at N56.91 billion, while raw cane sugar in solid form gulped N31.24 billion.
This expenditure was while Nigeria witnessed a 4.3 per cent decline in external trade from N29.33 trillion in 2011 to N28.07 trillion in the 2012 fiscal period.
Total merchandise trade for the fourth quarter of 2012, according to the report, was N7.185 trillion, representing an increase of N6.4 billion or 0.1 per cent over what was recorded the preceding quarter.
“The total value of Nigeria’s external merchandise trade for the fourth quarter of 2012 stood at N7.185tn, showing a slight increase of N6.4bn or 0.1 per cent over the previous quarter.
“At the end of 2012, Nigeria’s external trade was N28.071tn. This was 4.3 per cent lower than the corresponding figure of N29.333tn recorded in 2011,” the report stated.
The NBS attributed the development to a sharp decrease of 43.1 per cent in the value of imports from N9.89 trillion in 2011 to N5.6 2 trillion in 2012.
Lamenting Nigeria’s heavy dependence on food imports, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina, said that the nation had turned a dumping ground for imported food. Nigerians, according to him, were spending N2 trillion annually on food importation.
“It is a shameful thing that Nigeria has become a net importer of food. Nigeria has become a dumping ground for cheap food, and it is killing our people and the economy.
“About N1bn is spent every day to import rice. We also spend N240 billion to import sugar, and N1.2 trillion annually on fish. With this, we are creating market for others,” Adesina said.
Consequently, the Federal Government had made it clear about its decision to ban the importation of rice in order to promote the consumption of locally produced rice by 2015.
The Minister explained that Nigeria would by 2015 grow sufficient rice for local consumption.
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