By Sunny A Ijmoah
Nigeria spent at least N155bn within the last two years on the importation of salt and other locally available products from Asia and South America, even as domestic industries struggle with high production costs.
This is as the country allocated about N198bn within the same period for the development of natural resources, including salt.
According to Foreign Trade Statistics report by the National Bureau of Statistics, Nigeria spent the sum of N155bn to import salt, palm oil and coals.
Checks on the different quarters of Foreign Trade Statistics of the NBS showed that Nigeria imported palm oil majorly from China and Indonesia while crude salt was imported from Brazil.
Salt is one of the most common mineral resources in Nigeria. Salt is found in larger deposits in Ebonyi State whose slogan is “The salt of the Nation.” Other places of deposits include Abia, Akwa Ibom, Benue, Cross River, Anambra, Imo, Katsina, and Sokoto States.
There are fewer than five salt makers in Nigeria as the existing ones are squeezed by high production costs, foreign exchange scarcity and energy crisis.
Salt development in Ebonyi has been abandoned despite previous funds from the Japanese Government.
Amid the huge salt deposits and the billions committed to developing natural resources in the country, Nigeria spends billions of Naira on the importation of salt in the country.
Also, according to findings over N100bn was spent on importation of palm oil from Asia within the past two years.
In the past decades, before the discovery of crude oil, Nigeria’s palm oil sector generated about 43 per cent of the world’s total production. Nigeria was considered as the biggest player in the global palm oil market. The production of palm oil went beyond domestic consumption, with the excess produce contributing to foreign earnings via exports.