- China Topples US to Emerge Nigeria’s Biggest Trading Partner
China has finally toppled the United States of America to emerged the largest trading partner of Africa’s largest economy.
A data released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) revealed that 26.4 percent of Nigeria’s total imports between January and March 2019 were from China.
The value of imported goods from China stood at N979.30 billion in the first quarter of the year.
Other major import trading partners during the quarter were the United States, India and the Netherlands, which accounted for N525.3 billion or 8.78 per cent, N242.71 billion or 6.55 per cent and N150.72 billion or 4.07 per cent respectively.
This may not be unconnected to the Bilateral Currency Swap agreement signed with People’s Bank of China in April 2018.
In December 2018, the Central Bank of Nigeria announced it had injected CNY669.66 million into the foreign exchange market to support businesses trading with China.
While Nigeria has increased her imports from China, the world’s second largest economy, China is not importing much from Nigeria as the Asian nation is not even among top 10 countries Nigeria export its goods to.
However, Chinese investors continue to invest in the Nigerian economy.
Investors King reports that Chinese investments in Nigeria presently worth $20 billion and it is still growing.
According to Mr Ye Shuijin, the President, China Chambers of Commerce in Nigeria, the 160 Chinese businesses operating in Nigeria are training workers on relevant skills needed to compete on a global scale.
Still, experts caution the Federal Government on Chinese loans, saying the loans are yet to reflect on the economy.
Dr Sam Nzekwe, former President, Association of National Accountants of Nigeria, said: “Most times, they say the loans are directed towards one outfit or the other, like rail system. They take these loans but they have no impact on the economy because what happens in such loans is that there will be no local content into it.
“Like here now, all the spare parts are from China; even the machinery are from China, all the things you use to work are from China. So what happens is that technically, you have paid up the money back to them and then, you are still owing them. But if we have something to contribute towards the implementation of that rail system, then the money will circulate within the local economy, but this is not there.
“But you borrow money, the money goes back to them, then you still have the loans to pay and this increases debt servicing.”
The Federal Executive Council approved another $1 billion Chinese loan in May from China-Exim Bank for the Gurara II Hydropower project.