The increasing menace of dumping of products from Asian countries, especially China, into the Nigerian market is seriously undermining the competitiveness of the nation’s already distressed manufacturing sector.
China’s staggering population of 1.6 billion needs new trading routes for industrial goods, and Nigeria which is the most populous black nation, with a big capacity to easily absorb many of these goods, is an obvious target by the Chinese authorities.
Investigations by Financial Vanguard reveal that products from China are heavily subsidized for export which makes it possible for them to be sold at much cheaper rates in Nigeria than similar products that are manufactured locally in the country.
The list of such items imported into the country range from textile materials, bags, shoes, men and ladies’ clothing, all types of electronics, phones, generators etc.
China is exporting goods at rock-bottom prices to Nigeria, and because Nigerian consumers are highly price-sensitive, they keep picking up the imported goods without questioning their quality.
The systematic flooding of Chinese products into the Nigerian market is very organised and coordinated. The main outlet is the popular China Town from where major markets in Lagos are infiltrated and then to other parts of the country.
Apart from the China Town market, Chinese citizens go round markets like Alaba International, Auto-parts and Balogun markets, looking for new channels for shipping in more of their goods.
The dumping of goods ranging from household items to consumables into Nigeria comes through unapproved border routes. This is so because the local manufacturers are having a running battle in finding markets for their products as Nigerians prefer to patronise these cheaper products as against made-in Nigeria. A visit to Seme border showed that with as little as N200.00, one can bring in a bag of rice, 2’x4′ two wheel truck load of St. Louis sugar, bags of detergent soaps, and a commodity as low as nylon bags can pass through the border.
Mrs Nofi Ahodipe, a dealer in all kinds of consumables said that no matter the quantity of goods one brings in through Seme border, one must ‘settle’ the security operatives that mount check at every 100 metres. Some of these goods according to Ahodipe, come in trickles until a medium-size warehouse is filled up.
Financial Vanguard observed that even banned poultry products come into Nigeria freely, but another trader who preferred to remain anonymous said that you only hear of seized poultry products when the importer tries to play smart by not ‘settling’ the appropriate security official or that the ‘settlement’ is not commensurate with the quantity of banned import.
A car washer based in Seme also told Financial Vanguard that all kinds of vehicles including buses, motorcycles, wheel barrows, bicycles and sometimes hawkers, are used to ferry these items. It was gathered that the dumping of goods into the country goes on , on a 24-hour basis as vehicles are on the move all the time.
Some of the commodities commonly ferried across the border include tissue paper, biscuits, and beverages of all kinds, various brands of vegetable oil, even palm oil, spirit and rum; fruit juices, banned second-hand clothes and textile materials, and all kinds of fruits.
Financial Vanguard further gathered that the only people that pay import duty based on their imports are the big time importers who move in commodities in large trucks.
A Customs officer, names withheld, told Financial Vanguard while inspecting a truck of nylon bags that there in nothing anybody can do about what obtains in Seme, adding that as long as the border remains open, all kinds of goods will keep coming including banned items.
The influx of these low quality goods into Nigeria will keep coming in unless the government makes an effort to implement fully some of its policies with a view to stopping Nigeria from becoming a dumping ground and saving local manufacturers from total collapse.
This is a 2012 report