Total value of merchandise trade increases to N7.21trn Q1

The total value of Nigeria’s merchandise trade increased to N7.21 trillion in the first quarter of 2018.
Foreign Trade Statistics released by National Bureau of Statistics for first quarter of 2018 showed that the trade increased by 19.74 per cent quarter/ quarter from N6.02 trillion in fourth quarter of 2017 and 35.07 per cent year on year from N5.34 trillion in the first quarter 2017.
Total import value for the period increased by 19.22 per cent qoq to N2.52 trillion against N2.11 trillion achieved in the last quarter of 2017.
In the same vein, total exports grew significantly by 20.02 per cent q/q to N4.69 trillion compared with N3.91 trillion in recorded in fourth quarter 2017.
Accordingly, the trade balance improved by 20.95 per cent to N2.18 trillion, against N1.80 trillion in the preceding quarter.
The NBS said the significant improvement in trade balance in the quarter under review was driven by the stronger growth in exports compared to imports, and notably, the trade balance exceeded the N2 trillion mark for the first time since first quarter 2016.
The report also expect further growth in the trade surplus, on the back of stronger oil prices and production volumes, as oil accounts for 76.3 per cent of total exports.
In another development, the Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) said that the Voluntary Assets & Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS) has accrued N30 billion since inception 11 months ago and that tax net has been expanded from 14 million to 19 million people, representing a 36 per cent increase.
Though the expansion in the tax net is a welcome development, the extra tax revenue accrued is underwhelming as it represents only 30 per cent of the scheme’s revenue target, and 0.4 per cent of the government target

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