Emerging trends in Nigeria’s non-oil exports
In spite of the late release of the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) 2012 Annual Report, the non-oil export data as contained therein have shown some emerging trends with regards to the top non-oil export firms, values of their exports, the types of goods exported, and the destinations of exports most especially when comparison is made between their 2012 and 2011 figures. The CBN always publishes the top 100 non-oil exporters in its annual report.
Pertaining to non-oil exporters, some of the firms which made the top 30 on the CBN list in 2011 have lost their positions as they have been replaced by other firms at the end of 2012 financial year. A company’s position on the CBN top 100 non-oil exporters list is determined by the worth of its export measured in US dollars ($). The firms that missed the top 30 positions in 2012 are Eleme Petrochemicals, Multi-Trex Integrated Foods Plc, Stanmark Cocoa Processing Ltd, Metal Recycling Industries Ltd, Nestle Nigeria Plc, RMM Global Company Ltd, Yara Commodities Ltd and Friesland Capina Wamco.
Furthermore, the combined revenue of the 2012 top 30 non-oil exporters dipped by 8 percent to $1.67bn as against $1.75 billion the 2011 top 30 league collectively realised. By implication, the share of the 2012 top 30 members in the overall export earnings fell to 77 percent as against 80 percent that the 2011 group recorded. The new entrants into the top 30 league are Notore Chemical Industries Ltd, Multitan Ltd, Everest Metal Nigeria Ltd, Dansa Food Processing Company, West African Rubber, Starlink Global and Ideal Ltd as well as Kimatrai Nigeria Ltd.
Surprisingly, Eleme Petrochemicals Company Limited which exported $75.7 million worth of goods in 2011 was completely absent on the list of the top 100 non-oil exporters in 2012. An analyst who did not want his name in print but is well familiar with the agriculture and agro-allied sector attributed that development to the on-going expansion in Indorama Eleme Petrochemicals. As noted in the Nigeria Dealbook H1, 2013, the company has sourced for $375 million from IFC, Bank of India, Belgian Company for Development, the Commonwealth Development Corporation, Germany’s DEG and the FMO of Netherland. It is believed that by the time the fund is fully utilized, the company will be a force to reckon with in its sector.
Metal Recycling Industries Ltd, which earned $14.8 million from non-oil exports in 2011 was also missing on the list in 2012, but no reason could be adduced as at the time of writing the report. Even though the following firms made more from export in 2012, the positions of RMM Global Company, Yara Commodities Ltd and Stanmark Cocoa Processing Ltd fell to 33rd, 34th and 37th in 2012 down from 26th, 27th and 21st respectively in 2011.
It was even more surprising that Multi-Trex Integrated Foods Plc, Friesland Capina Wamco and Nestle Plc had both the values of their exports as well as their positions decline on the table. In other words, Multi-Trex, Friesland Capina and Nestle were rated the 45th, 49th and 50th non-oil exporters in 2012 as against 15th, 30th and 24th positions respectively in 2011.
The collective earnings of firms with lower sales in 2012 despite making it on the list of top 30 non-oil exporters still dipped by $385m (N60bn). The sharp fall in their earnings demands attention from the Nigerian authorities. Observations made by the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) which were explicitly stated in WTO’s 2012 annual report should provide some hints as to why these firms experienced a decline in export revenue in 2012. The body states that issues relating to non-tariff measures (NTM) such as certification requirements, export inspection and obtaining export licenses/permits are factors that can impair a firm’s ability to effectively and efficiently explore international market. According to WTO “these three categories account for more than 60 percent of firm complaints about export related measures.” WTO team came about these three major factors based on their findings in 11 countries some of which share economic, social and political characteristics with Nigeria. In addition, since the destination countries are majorly in Europe, Nigerian searchlight should be beamed on SPS measures, standards and testing that most exporters to EU are confronted with.
The records of the new entrants into the top 30 non-oil export firms justify why they are there. Memuda Industries sold $82.3m worth of finished leather to Italy in 2012 to emerged the 4th biggest non-oil exporter compared with $10.6m worth of the same item it sold overseas in 2011 when it was rated the 32nd. Notore occupied the 11th position in 2012 for selling $45.5 million worth ammonia and fertilizers to Morocco and Uruguay whereas the same firm was rated 34th in 2011 when it sold just $10m worth of the same goods. Multitan’s export value rose to $36m in 2012 from a paltry $3m in 2011. For that reason, its position moved from 60th in 2011 to 13th in 2012.
Everest Metal Ltd is another firm that had a good outing in 2012 due to the threefold increase in its export value. It earned $33.7m in 2012 in contrast to $10m in 2011. Dansa Food Processing Ltd realised $32m in 2012 whereas Dangote Agrosacks Ltd, the only firm from Dangote Group on the table in 2011, realised just $0.39m. The earning realised by the West African Cotton Company Ltd jumped up by 219 percent, from $9.4m in 2011 to $29.8m in 2012.
Finished products and fully-processed produce earned the nation more foreign exchange in 2012. Sale of manufactured products especially textiles and other materials increased by 32 percent between 2011 and 2012. Apart from that, many of the firms that exported finished products performed better in 2012 fiscal year. The gainers are those whose 2012 export earnings surpassed 2011 earnings. On top of the gainers’ table was Mamuda which increased its export revenue by $72m by selling fished leather to Italy. In similar business are the West African Tannery Company Limited and Unique Leather Ltd. The former which outperformed 2011 revenue by $23m sold finished goat and sheep leather to Italy, India and China while the latter which surpassed the previous year’s earnings by $13m exported finished leather grades 1,2,3 and 4 to Italy.
Nigerian ginned cotton lint made its presence felt at the international market in 2012. Armajaro and the West African Cotton Ltd traded in this commodity just as both firms made the list of gainers in the top 30 non-oil exporters. In comparison with 2011 foreign earnings, Armajaro was better by $70m, though it also traded in cocoa bean while the WA Cotton Ltd which traded only in cotton lint increased its year-on-year earnings by $20m. The export destinations are Indonesia, Germany and Vietnam.
Fully fermented Nigerian cocoa beans posted good performance as it was a major exportable of Starlink Global Ltd which increased its earnings by $14m in 2012 when compared with 2011 figure. Notore Chemical Industries Ltd also garnered additional $35m in export earnings because it sold fully refrigerated anhydrous ammonia & fertilizer (urea granular) to Morocco and Uruguay.
Other produce and goods whose sales overseas earned the nation more foreign earnings are Gum Arabic, aluminium alloy ingot, remelted lead ingot, Nigerian sesame seeds and dried hibiscus flour. Dansa Food Processing Ltd’s revenue jumped up by $32m through the sale of Gum Arabic to France and Germany; Everest Metal traded in aluminium and lead ingots thereby realising additional $30m over 2011 earnings while AIS Trades and Industries Ltd raised its 2012 revenue by $11m through the sale of Maiduguri type sesame seeds and Nigerian dried hibiscus flour.
As said earlier, there are companies that made lesser revenue from export in 2012 compared with 2011 figures. On the flip side are Bolawole Enterprises, Olam Nigeria Ltd, Sun and Sand Industries, Imoniyame Holdings, Saro Agro Allied Ltd, Agro Traders Ltd, Rubber Estates Ltd, Fata Tanning and Tulip Cocoa Processing Nigeria Ltd. Others are MINL, Enghuat Industries, Atlantic Shrimpers and the West African Rubber Products. In monetary terms, Multi-Trex’s export value fell to $12m in 2012 from $34.9m in 2011. Friesland Wamco made $10.2m in 2012 compared with $10.9 million it realised in 2011 while Nestle’s export value dropped to $9.8 million in 2012 from $13.5 million in 2011. For companies like Friesland Wamco and Nestle, they could have decided to focus more on the growing home demand. Producing their products in smaller packs such as sachets lends credence to this. Another possible cause is that the dominance of these firms in their respective sectors is now being challenged by up-coming firms.
Inter-regional trade between Nigeria and other African countries seems to be growing, albeit slowly. Nigerian firms are also in the race to control markets in DR Congo, Sudan, Morocco, Egypt and South African. But jokes apart, the structure of the nation’s exports shows the level of our industrial development and the extent Nigerian exporting firms can play at the international market. If this continues for a while, Nigeria may not realise much from international trade until we begin to export heavy manufactured goods such as heavy machinery, equipment, sophisticated electrical and electronic appliances. Presently, our manufactured exports include cigarettes, evaporated milk, soaps, detergents, noodles, dairy products, ingots, bathroom slippers and seasonings.
By: TELIAT SULE