National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has said that Nigeria spent N1.09 trillion to import Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), also known as petrol, in the first six months of 2020, indicating a difference of 42.3% when compared to N766.06 billion recorded in the same period in 2019.

In a series of reports, NBS also disclosed that the value of the country’s crude oil export dropped sharply by 38.5% to N4.5 trillion within the same period, compared with N7.32 trillion in the corresponding period of 2019.

When compared to the preceding half, second half of 2019, H2’19, the value of crude oil export also showed a massive decline of 39.02 per cent, as the country earned N7.38 trillion in H2’19.

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The decline in export figure was recorded, despite the devaluation of the local currency, which could have increased the Naira value. But it also came at the backdrop of a crash in the price of crude oil in the international market.

The massive increase in expenditure on PMS import is recorded, despite the reports of the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Authority (PPPRA), and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), indicating a significant reduction in Nigeria’s fuel import and consumption figure since March 2020, due to the Coronavirus.

NBS said the lockdown can also be blamed for the drop in Nigeria’s crude oil export in the first half of 2020, as the supply glut that followed the pandemic forced the price of crude into the negative terrain in April, called ‘Black April’, while demand for crude oil crashed. In some cases to zero, with storage space causing major concerns globally, as the world seemed to run out of space to store crude oil.

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The NBS said N1.003 trillion was spent on fuel import in the first quarter of 2020, Q1’20, as against N190.78 billion in the corresponding period of 2019, while in the second quarter, Q2’20, the NBS stated that Nigeria spent N87.08 billion as against N575.28 billion in the corresponding period of 2019.

Petrol import, according to the NBS reports, accounted for 2.16% of Nigeria’s total imports in the second quarter of 2020, the fourth largest import in the second quarter, topped by used vehicles import, which gulped N198.4 billion and accounting for 4.93% of total imports.

The agency went on that in the first and second quarter of 2020, crude oil export stood at N2.94 trillion and N1.55 trillion, respectively, compared with N3.38 trillion and N3.94 trillion in the first and second quarter of 2019, respectively.

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NBS noted that crude oil export accounted for 70.01% of Nigeria’s total export in the second quarter of 2020, with The Netherlands emerging the highest buyer of Nigeria’s crude in the second quarter, with N221.68 billion, followed by China with the purchase of N189.91 billion worth of crude oil, while South Africa purchased N171.78 billion worth.

Nigeria also exported crude oil valued at N147.61 billion, N133.98 billion, N68.94 billion and N67.38 billion to India, Spain, Togo and Indonesia, respectively, in the second quarter of 2020.

By Chibisi Ohakah, Abuja

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