Toilet paper, soap among Nigeria’s top import from UK in 2023

In the last six months of year 2023, Nigeria was the United Kingdom‘s 39th largest trade partner. Of all UK exports during this period, £1.3 billion, representing 33 percent were goods, according to the 2023 UK-Nigeria trade and investments factsheets released by the Department for Business and Trade recently.

Top 5 imported goods from the UK to Nigeria in 2023

A chart of top 5 import goods from the Uk to Nigeria

Refined oil

During the period under consideration, refined oil was the most imported goods from the UK into Nigeria. Nigeria spent over £669.4 million on importation of refined oil accounting for 50.4 percent of all UK goods imported to Nigeria.

Toilet & cleansing preparations

In the same period, Toilet & cleansing products including toilet paper, toilet cleaning agents, disinfectants, hand soap, body wash, facial cleansers, and other similar products accounted for 3.8 percent of all import goods. Between October 2022 and September 2023, Nigeria spent £50.0 million on importing these products.

Textile fabrics

In the four quarters to the end of Q3 2023, Nigeria spent £49.7 million to import textile fabrics from the UK, representing 3.7 percent of import trade from Britain. In 2002, Nigeria banned imports of all printed fabrics to create a self-sufficient textile industry, but the ban was lifted in 2015 with a 35 percent import duty implemented

General industrial machinery

These goods accounted for 2.5 percent of Nigeria’s total import goods. General industrial machinery cost Nigeria £33.7 million as of Q3 2023

Miscellaneous foods

In these four quarters, the UK exported snacks, condiments, beverages, and other food products not fruits and vegetables worth £27.4 million to Nigeria, accounting for 2.1 percent of total trade.

Top 5 exported goods to the UK from Nigeria in 2023

A chart of the Top 5 export goods from the Nigeria to the UK

Crude oil

In the four quarters to the end of Q3 2023, Nigeria exported crude oil worth £1.2 billion to the UK accounting for 62.6 percent of all UK goods imported from Nigeria, the 3rd oil-producing country in Africa and 15th in the world. In the UK, crude oil accounts for 97 percent of the fuel for transportation.

The country heavily relies on petroleum products to keep its transportation system running smoothly.

Refined oil

The United Kingdom spent a total of £334.5 million to import refined oil from Nigeria, which imports from Asia and Europe. Refined oil accounts for 17.8 percent of total goods exported from Nigeria to the UK.

Refined oil is used to manufacture almost all chemical products, such as plastics, fertilisers, detergents, paints and medicines in Britain.


Gas accounted for 15.6 percent of imported goods. The UK bought £292.4 million worth of gas from Nigeria between October 2022 and September 2023. In the UK, over 22 million households are connected to the gas grid, which plays a crucial role in heating homes, offices, and industrial spaces across the country

Aircraft accessories

Accounting for 1.2 percent of goods imported by the UK from Nigeria, about £21.7 million worth of aviation materials including aircraft parts, aviation fuel and other airline services, leasing and management were sent from Nigeria to the UK in 2023.

Metal ores & scrap

The UK spent £12.1 million to import metal ores and scrap materials from Nigeria as of Q3 2023. Metal recycling in the United Kingdom is a thriving industry that plays a crucial role in sustainability, energy conservation, and economic growth. In 2022, 11.8 million tonnes of scrap metal were processed in the UK. Around 80% of this scrap is exported globally, making the UK one of the top five metal scrap-exporting countries in the world

The UK-Nigeria goods trade outlook

Ranking 41st among the UK’s largest goods trading partners, Nigeria experienced a trade deficit of 21.2 percent in goods exports to the UK or £357 million in current prices, compared to the same period in the previous year.

Nigeria was 32nd among the largest importers from the UK and the 40th largest in goods exports. The Afro-giants were also the 45th largest import market for the UK and the 41st largest goods market.

These figures show that Nigeria accounts for less than one percent of the UK goods bilateral market.

More recent data shows that UK imports of goods from Nigeria decreased 4.8 percent, in current prices as of December 2023, compared to the same period in the previous year. UK exports of goods to Nigeria also declined 9.4 percent by current prices over the same period.

The UK has a long history of economic cooperation with Nigeria which has not fallen short in potential due to constraints in cost and logistics creating a challenging business environment for bilateral trade

We want to do more,” said Andrew Mitchell, the UK’s minister of state for development and Africa.

“As a continued commitment to building on our already strong trade relationship, the UK’s Secretary of State for Business and Trade, Rt Hon. Kemi Badenoch, recently signed an Enhanced Trade and Investment Partnership with her counterpart the Rt Hon. Dr Doris Uzoka-Anite.

The ETIP builds on the commitments made under the Economic Development Forum and highlights the key sectors of focus that will see increased trade and investment wins for both nations,” he wrote in an article published on BusinessDay echoing the contribution of the World Trade Organization.

Reiterating plans to strengthen future trade relations between Nigeria and the UK, he said “Under the previously mentioned Developing Countries Trade Scheme, we are making it easier for Nigerian firms to export duty-free goods to the UK. This includes removing tariffs on nearly 3000 Nigerian goods and products such as cocoa, cotton, tomatoes, and plantain, benefitting both Nigerian exporters and UK consumers.

“The goal is to make it quicker, easier, and cheaper for UK and Nigerian firms to trade – no doubt an ambition that both nations share

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