On the first half of this year, $10.40 billion was remitted to the country by Nigerians abroad. These huge money include contributions through remittances to their families, friends, communities, medical missions and provision of scholarships, the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has said.
According to a statement endorsed by her Special Adviser, Paul Nwabuikwu, this emereged during meeting with Nigerians in Diaspora by a high level Executive-Legislative team.
“Nigerians in the Diaspora have been seeking ways and means to contribute more to the country’s development. This interest is backed by substantial capacity: the value of remittances from Nigerians abroad in 2013 was $20.77 billion; for the first half of 2014, it is $10.40 billion. This includes contributions through remittances to their families, friends and communities, medical missions and provision of scholarships,” the statement explained.
As a result of these huge remittances he said team is currently holding a series of interactive sessions with Nigerians in Europe and the United States (U.S.). The sessions were organised by the Debt Management Office (DMO), led by its Director-General, Dr. Abraham Nwankwo.
The delegation he said is headed by the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and includes key members of relevant committees in the National Assembly. The members of the National Assembly are: Chairman, Senate Committee on Finance, Sen E. Uzamere, Chairman, Senate Committee on Local and Foreign Debts, Sen Ahmed Makarfi; Chairman, Senate Committee on Rules and Business, Sen Ita Enang, Chairman, House Committee on Aid, Loans and Debt Management,Honourable Adeyinka Ajayi, House Committee on Diaspora, Hon Famurewa Ajibola Israel, House Committee on Finance, Honourable Abdulrahman Terab, and Chairman, House Committee on Appropriation, Hon Emmanuel David Ombugadu.
“The experience of countries such as Israel and India shows that the Diaspora are a force to be reckoned with in the growth and development of any country through the funding of critical development projects, among other means. The current effort is directed at providing the Nigerian Diaspora similar opportunities,” the statement read.
The meetings which started two days ago in London, “will continue in New York, Washington DC and Houston between September 2-4, 2014. The London meeting hosted by the Nigerian Ambassador to the United Kingdom, Dr. Dalhatu Sarki Tafida, was attended by over 140 invited Nigerian professionals.”
The meeting Nwabuikwu explained “provided an avenue for the CME and the other members of the team to update Nigerians in the Diaspora on the developments in the economy, the major achievements of the Transformation Agenda under the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan and the opportunities available in Nigeria for Diaspora Nigerians.”
Nigerians in Diaspora were also reassured of the developments in the country with respect to the Ebola Virus Disease and government’s management of the situation.
“Participants expressed concern about the security situation and urged the government to do more particularly with respect to the return of the Chibok girls and also showed a lot of interest in contributing to development with investments in infrastructure, SMEs and in the housing sector,” the statement added.