Nigeria spent a total of $6.42 billion on importation at the end of the fourth quarter of 2012, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has said.
The CBN in its External Sector report of the fourth quarter of the year said the amount was spent on the importation of industrial, oil, food and manufactured products during the three- month period.
The import of industrial products accounted for the highest figures representing 28.3 and 27.3 per cents of the $6.42 billion spent on imports in the quarter. The CBN however raised concerns on the high amount spent on the importation of food.
According to the apex bank, “foreign exchange utilisation of 19.2 per cent for food importation was high and suggests the need for adequate funding of the agriculture sector and the vigorous pursuit of the financial inclusion programme.”
Further analysis revealed that $3.80 billion was expended on services which comprised financial-$2.97 billion, business-$0.23 billion, transportation-$0.29 billion while “others” accounted for the balance.
In total, $10.22 billion was utilised in Q4, 2012 consisting of US$6.41 billion and US$3.80 billion for visible and invisible trade representing 62.8 and 37.2 per cent, respectively. The CBN figures showed that foreign exchange utilised for visible transactions have remained dominant over the last two quarters of 2012.
Meanwhile, demand for foreign exchange at the weekly Dutch Auction System (WDAS) for the quarter dropped by 34.2 and 59.4 per cent when compared with the levels recorded in the preceding quarter and corresponding quarter of 2011, respectively to $4.29 billion.
This, the apex bank said was due to the increased supply of foreign exchange through the autonomous sources to the interbank foreign exchange market. A total amount of $4.26 billion was supplied in Q4 2012, consisting of US$3.32 billion and US$0.94 billion to the wDAS and BDC operators, respectively. This indicated a decline of 34.39 and 46.35 per cent when compared with Q3 2012 and Q4 2011, respectively.