The National Bureau of Statistics’ Foreign Trade Statistics report, released on Monday, indicates a significant 40 per cent decrease in the value of traded manufactured goods in Q1 2023, which declined from N219bn in the corresponding quarter of the previous year to N131.1bn.

The report stated the total trade of manufactured goods in Q1 stood at N2.5tn, representing 20.98 per cent of total trade. Of this, the export component accounted for N131.1bn.

The major export goods in this category were ‘unwrought aluminium alloys’ exported to Japan worth N16.28bn.

This was followed by ‘vessels and other floating structures for breaking up’ valued at N12.9bn and N5.5bn to Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea, respectively and ‘Cathodes and sections of cathodes’ exported to Japan valued at N9.84bn.

Exports by region showed that manufactured goods were mainly exported to Asia valued at N52.2bn, followed by manufactured goods exported to other African countries at N42.44bn and Europe valued at N24.78bn.

Manufactured goods mainly imported were ‘used vehicles, with diesel or semidiesel engine, of cylinder capacity >2500cc’ from the United States and Canada valued at N59.5bn, N1.31bn, respectively, followed by ‘filters’ also imported from China worth N41bn.

Other goods imported in this category were ‘machines for reception, conversion and transmission … of voice, images or data’ from China valued at N28.2bn and ‘motorcycles and cycles fitted with an auxiliary motor, petrol fuel, capacity >50<250cc, CKD’ from China worth N24.1bn.

Speaking with The PUNCH, the Deputy-President of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Gabriel Idahosa, cited the numerous challenges faced by local manufacturers ranging from lack of access to foreign exchange and scarcity of local raw materials.

to rising energy costs as factors that had significantly restrained the manufacturing sector from reaching its full potential.

Idahosa said, “There are essential driving forces that are affecting the performance of the manufacturing sector. A lot of our manufacturing is dependent on importing of raw materials. Many of them do not just have the general issue of access to forex, a lot of them are on the 41 blacklisted items which cannot access CBN channels at all. So, they depend 100 per cent on the parallel market. And as you know, the parallel market price for foreign exchange is getting worse.”