By Maureen Okon, Abuja.
The Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM) on Monday lauded diaspora contributions to Nigeria’s economy, as diaspora remittances increased by 20.3 per cent in the first quarter of 2022.
The Chairman of NiDCOM, Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa, gave the commendation in a statement issued by Alhaji Abdur-Rahman Balogun, Head of its Media, Public Relations and Protocols Unit.
“Recent figures released by the CBN showed an increase in remittances in Quarter One of 2022 to 5.16 billion dollars, from 4.29 billion dollars in the corresponding period of 2021.
“Also, the `Naira-4-Dollar scheme’, created by the CBN in 2021, attracted 2.4 billion dollars in diaspora remittances within eight months, surpassing the figure reported in 2021.
“NiDCOM will continue to push for more engagement with our diaspora who are an indisputable economic factor and are becoming an investment factor in the country.
“Also, many Nigerians abroad are investing in agriculture, real estate, health, education and ICT, amongst others,’’ she said.
It is expected that by the end of 2022, remittances from Nigerians in the diaspora from official sources, would have increased from its current 22 billion dollars to about 25 billion dollars.
Dabiri-Erewa noted that the increased remittances were the seventh consecutive quarterly increase since the last quarter of 2020.
She said that the increased remittances played a significant role in Nigeria’s GDP and had a great impact on the country’s socio-economic growth.
“As the world recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic and confronts instability of many kinds, we acknowledge the efforts of all those who continue to support their loved ones, in spite of challenging circumstances,’’ she said.
Besides, Dabiri-Erewa urged all stakeholders to continue press for diaspora voting at the National Assembly to amend relevant sections of the law to enable INEC to do the needful.
She assured Nigerians abroad that details of Nigerians Diaspora Investment Trust Fund would soon be unveiled as a platform for structured diaspora investments.
She added that diaspora mortgage and housing facilities were some of the programmes being introduced by NiDCOM for the welfare diaspora Nigerians.
She also described diaspora Nigerians as valuable assets worth more than the billions of naira they sent home as remittances.
She said that this was because they contributed immensely to national development through training and capacity development.
Dabiri-Erewa emphasised that no nation could develop without its diaspora, adding that there was the need for Nigerians at home and in the diaspora to work together.
Thirty-three states now have State Diaspora Focal Point Officers, with Abia State setting up the Abia State Diaspora Agency.
Edo and Enugu states are almost set with their own agencies, just as Ondo and Anambra states now have commissioners.