By Asmau Ahmad
The Nigeria’s Federal Government said Diaspora home remittances in 2022 stood at US$ 21.9 billion through official channels.
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 at the event by the Chief of Staff, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila.
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 it 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.
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.