Nigeria has reportedly imported up to 4,760,000 tonnes of palm oil worth about N11.5 trillion in the last ten years. This occurred between 2007 and November 2017.
Palm oil, which used to be one of the nation’s major sources of foreign exchange in the early 1960s, is massively imported from Malaysia and Indonesia. Nigeria currently has a global share of 2.9 per cent, with Indonesia leading by 33 million metric tonnes, Malaysia with 19.8 million metric tonnes, Thailand having 2 million tonnes and Colombia with 1.1 million metric tonnes.
With gross domestic production estimated at 970,000 metric tonnes, Nigeria requires an annual 2.7 million tonnes to make up for a 1.73 million tonne deficit. Despite a high exchange rate and price, shipment of the produce was increased by 12 per cent as its global price hit $718 per metric tonne.
The price of the commodity was $663 per metric tonne in July this year but rose to $718 per metric tonne in November based on high demand by indigenous manufacturers.
Details gathered reveal that in 2007, the country imported 451,000 metric tonnes of palm oil and 410,000 metric tonnes in 2008. 425,000 tonnes, 435,000 tonnes and 440,000 tonnes were imported in 2009, 2010 and 2011 respectively.
In 2012, up to 470,000 metric tonnes of the produce were brought into the country with about 518,000 tonnes imported in 2013. The country also imported 506,000 tonnes in 2014, 263,000 tonnes in 2015, 400,000 tonnes in 2016 and up to 450,000 tonnes in November this year.
A total import of 4.7 million metric tonnes at the rate of $663 per tonne implies that Nigeria had, within the ten year period, spent as much as N11.5 trillion on importing palm oil, which could have been produced locally.
Following Nigeria and Ghana’s high demand for the commodity this year, a shipping line; CMA CGM; in August, imposed a new cargo protection service for shipments into the country.