Market News

Nigeria Records N55.2bn Trade Imbalance With UK - DAILY TRUST

APRIL 02, 2024

By Abdullateef Aliyu

The United Kingdom in December 2023 exported £185 million to Nigeria and imported £154 million, resulting in a negative trade balance of £30.8 million (N55.2bn), the federal government has disclosed.

Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr Doris Uzoka-Anite, said the federal government is committed to changing the trend in favour of Nigeria.

She spoke at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) in Lagos at the weekend during a ceremony marking the inaugural flight of Air Peace to London-Gatwick.

The much-celebrated flight had onboard Uzoka-Anite, Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Festus Keyamo and representative of the Foreign Affairs Minister, Ambassador Yusuf Tuggar.

Six years after, Air Peace reactivated the bilateral air service agreement (BASA) that Nigeria signed with the United Kingdom by launching the direct flight to London amidst widespread plaudits and jubilation.

However, Air Peace’s entry into the route has crashed fares even as the federal government vowed to give the airline all the support to survive on the route, and the aviation Minister stating that any treatment meted out to Air Peace on the route would be replicated by the government.

The Trade and Investment minister, in her remark, stated that Air Peace’s presence in London “is not merely about arrivals and departures” but about trade, investment and collaboration.”

“By choosing Air Peace, you choose to invest in Nigeria. You choose to empower local businesses, create jobs and strengthen our economy. In December 2023, the UK exported £185 million to Nigeria and imported £154 million, resulting in a negative trade balance of £30.8 million. This is a trend we wish to change in Nigeria’s favour, and an additional trade route is a major step in the right direction,” she said.

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The minister of Aviation said Air Peace’s flight to London would not only crash fares but would strengthen the naira as the airline would not be looking for dollars to repatriate like other foreign airlines.

He said the federal government is not unmindful of the aero-politics that might play out, but it is ready to reciprocate if the British government comes up with any unfavourable policy against Air Peace.

He reiterated the policy of the federal government to support indigenous carriers to thrive.

“With Air Peace on the London route, there will be no problem of trapped funds. It is a local company, and we don’t have to repatriate the sale of tickets through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

“We will be liquid enough in terms of foreign exchange to repatriate those funds. All the airlines that come into Nigeria, what they experience, are massive repatriation of funds that puts pressure on the naira because they have to seek dollars from both the commercial banks and CBN.”

Air Peace Chairman Allen Onyema explained that the London route would be a daily flight, saying the airline started the route in the interest of Nigerians who have been crying over exorbitant charges on the route.

According to him, the London route is just a tip of Air Peace’s sojourn on the international route as the airline currently flies to China, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, India, and several regional routes.

Acting Director-General of Civil Aviation, Capt. Chris Najomo, advocated for a fly Nigeria Act, saying every government official must support Air Peace for international trips.


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