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February 27, 2024
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Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Chairman, NiDCOM and Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, Chief of Staff to the President at the 17th annual National Diaspora Day (NDD) 2023 at the Conference Centre, Presidential Villa, Abuja

Diaspora remittances stood at $21.9bn in 2022 — Tinubu

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By Temitope Ponle

The Federal Government said Diaspora home remittances in 2022 stood at US$ 21.9 billion through official channels.

Nigeria’s President, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, said this at the 17th annual National Diaspora Day (NDD), 2023, at the Conference Centre, Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Tuesday.

The theme of the day was: “Consolidating Diaspora Engagement for National Development”.

Tinubu was represented by Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, his Chief of Staff.

The president said Nigerians were excelling globally and contributing immensely to the country’s development through their resources, talents, skills and global exposure.

“In 2022, our Diaspora home remittances through official channels stood at US$ 21.9 billion, over four times the value of our Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).

“The Nigerians in the Diaspora are also actively investing in healthcare, agriculture, education, information and communication technology, housing and real estate, sports, transportation, oil and gas and other sectors.

“This I must say is commendable and in our enlightened self-interest as only Nigerians both at home and abroad can develop Nigeria.”

He also estimated Nigerians in the Diaspora at over 17 million and reiterated that the government held the Diaspora in high esteem and worked hard to uplift engagements with them.

He said parts of the engagement included the passage of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM) (Establishment) Act in 2017, and its take off in 2019, and the approval and adoption of the National Diaspora Policy in 2021.

Tinubu also described the day as special owing to the new initiatives by NiDCOM to celebrate contributions of the Diaspora champions with the introduction of the maiden edition of the National Diaspora Merit Awards.

He said the initiative would serve as a morale booster for the Diaspora community and also encourage Diaspora engagement and participation for national development.

The president also commended the commission for its dynamic engagements with the Diaspora community, especially with laudable programmes for Nigerians in Diaspora to invest at home.

“I believe in the years to come, these programmes will impact tremendously on our economy by catalysing our developmental efforts.

“May I therefore encourage you to key into these programmes for our mutual benefits.

“May I also let you know that this new democratically-elected government is a Diaspora friendly one, which will provide an enabling platform for effective policies for the Diaspora with the view to galvanising support for the new administration and concretising our democracy, setting a good example for other African countries to emulate.”

He assured that the government would address some of the challenges the commission faced to make it more effective with the Diaspora for national development.

In her welcome address, Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Chairman, NiDCOM, said the theme of the day was a summary of the entire mandate of NiDCOM.

Dabiri-Erewa said the mandate was to engage and harness the talents, skills, resources and global exposure of Nigerians in the Diaspora for national development.

“Our interactions with the Diaspora community during this year’s National Diaspora Day celebrations therefore are expected to mobilise the Diaspora to key into some of the programmes of the government and to chart improved and better ways on how to achieve the positive results for national development within the “Renewed Hope Agenda” of the government.”

The chairman urged the federal government for a review of the Act setting up NiDCOM to streamline its activities by setting up a sustaining funding mechanism for the commission’s activities.

She encouraged the government to support and conclude the setting up of the Nigeria Diaspora Investment Fund (NDIF) as an investment window for the Diaspora, and the setting up of a Diaspora Intervention Fund for emergencies involving the Diaspora.

In his opening remarks, Amb. Adamu Lamuwa, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, applauded the Nigerians in the Diaspora for their contributions in Nigeria.

Lamuwa was represented by Amb. Samson Itegboje of the ministry.

The permanent secretary commended NiDCOM for its efforts and promised to work hand-in-hand with the commission for better Diaspora relations.

Highlights of the day included a cultural performance by the National Council for Arts and Culture, a musical interlude performed by Christiana Igbokwe, granddaughter of the late Nigerian musician, Christy Essien-Igbokwe, a saxophone played by OreOfe Sax, among others. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)

Edited by Vincent Obi

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