Nigeria spent N1.65 trillion importing live animals, hides and skin in the last four years despite the country’s comparative advantage to locally source them.
Data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed that between 2014 and 2017, Nigeria spent N1.32 trillion on live animals imports.
Daily Trust analysis showed that live animals imports constituted 16.52 per cent of the total imports in the four-year period.
The country’s total import from 2014 to 2017 stood at N32.45 trillion, far less than the N48.02 trillion recorded for export within the same period.
Export value less import values leaves the country with a trade balance of N15.52 trillion within the four-year period.
A close look at the data showed that the country also imported animal and vegetable fats and oils and other cleavage products worth N321.55 billion within the period under review.
Data shows that Nigeria is not doing well in live animals, raw hides and skin plus animal oil exports when compared with imports.
From 2014 to 2017, Nigeria exported live animals worth N69.67 billion, being 0.6 per cent of total imports for the period.
Daily Trust observed that the value of import of live animals is about N1 trillion higher than the value of the country’s export of the same product in the last four years.
That is to say that Nigeria recorded a trade deficit of about N1 trillion in live animals trade in the international market between 2014 and 2017.
Within the same period, Nigeria exported N159.31 billion worth of raw hides and skin plus leather and fur skins, which is N126.66 billion higher than the N32.65 trillion used in importing the raw products within the same period.
This is to say that Nigeria recorded a trade surplus of N126.66 billion in the international trade of raw hides and skin, leathers and fur skins between 2014 and 2017.
However, this raises concern as to the lost benefits of the raw hides and skin which would have been more beneficial if they were used in the local shoe and bag industries in Aba, Kano and Lagos.
Within the four-year period, Nigeria exported N9.24 billion worth of animal and vegetable fats and oils and other cleavage products, which is N312.31 billion less than the N321.55 billion spent importing the same products within the same period.
Recently, the Federal Government revealed that Nigeria spends about N468.65 billion ($1.3 billion) yearly on import of milk, yoghurt, cheese and other dairy products derived from animals such as cows.
Speaking while constituting a stakeholders’ committee for the development of policy framework to boost the dairy industry in Nigeria, the Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Hajiya Aisha Abubakar, said the dairy industry has the potential of producing millions of jobs and generating about N300 billion monthly.
Represented by the Permanent Secretary, Mr. Edet Sunday Akpan, the minister said available statistics showed that there were about 19.5 million cattle in Nigeria, 85 per cent of which were owned by individuals and managed by indigenous smallholders, subsistence and nomadic herdsmen, while the rest by medium and large scale farmers in managed pastures.