The international trade data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed that Nigeria imported N362.87bn worth of goods from the UK and exported N300.66bn to the European country last year, recording a negative trade balance or net export of N62.21bn.
The value of imports from the UK to Nigeria grew by 28 per cent year-on-year from N283.76bn, while export to the UK from Nigeria shrank by 28 per cent from N414.85bn in 2015.
Analysts said this was a reflection of the state of foreign trade in the country in 2016, in which imports out performed exports by N290.13bn as a result of the plunging revenue from crude oil exports. The country imported products worth N8.82tn and exported merchandise valued at N8.53tn.
The data before 2016 showed that Nigeria had recorded trade surpluses with the United Kingdom for six consecutive years, with the highest positive balance of trade of N1.11tn in 2012.
The statistics indicated a trade surplus of N4.91bn in 2010, which expanded to N970.42bn in 2011 and peaked at N1.11tn in 2012.
In 2013, the NBS data indicated that the balance of trade between both countries shrank to N362.87bn; grew to N535.63bn in 2014 and further reduced to N131.09bn in 2015.
Despite the shortfall in export by Nigeria to the European country in the year under review, the UK remained one of Nigeria’s top 10 export destinations.
Further analysis showed that Nigeria’s trade with Europe as a whole in 2016 also resulted in a negative balance of trade of N1.05tn as against a trade surplus of N1.31tn in 2015.
Explaining the factors responsible for the negative balance of trade, Chukwu said the global fall in oil prices and shrinking volume of crude oil produced had adversely affected the value of Nigeria’s export to the UK.