The Nigerians in Diaspora Commission NIDCOM has been commended for decentralization of its activities from the national to the subnational and local government levels.
Stakeholders who spoke during the inaugural summit of state diaspora focal point officers ,tuesday in Abuja commended NIDCOM under the chairmanship of Hon, Abike Dabiri-Erewa for its commitment to engaging diasporans and seeing to their welfare. The inaugural summit had as its theme “Leveraging diaspora resources for national development “
The Overall goal of the summit was to recognize and charge the state diasporan focal point officers to Join hands with NIDCOM in order to increase Diasporan interest and engagement to aid sustainable development.
Hon,Abike in her adress said
“The Nigerians in the diaspora commission is on a massive advocacy to get the diaspora to appreciate the critical role they can play in nation building. They are being mobilized across all continents and nations to return home and establish businesses in their various areas of expertise.
So far, there are good and successful stories that have come out of these efforts. Some of these positive results recorded are in the health sector, agriculture, manufacturing, education,etc.
The 25 billion dollars estimated to have been remitted and injected into the Nigerian economy in 2018 attest to the enormous resources that can be injected into the economy annually. It may interest you to know that the amount does not include other remittances that are done informally. The NIDCOM being a facilitating agency for the diaspora is therefore empowered to provide the leadership and guide needed to achieve set goals.”
The inaugural summit was attended by 14 state focal point officers as well as stakeholders, students of Diaspora and transnational studies from the university of Ibadan and the media.
An impactful keynote address was delivered by Gov.Okezie Ikpeazu, the Executive Governor of Abia state who emphasized how his government realized the need for collaboration with indigenes of Abia state in diaspora early in his administration and chronicled the health, educational benefits and the overall positive growth that has come from him harnessing that synergy.
According to him, “it is not the funds I am interested in repatriating, it is the human capital to contribute to development back home”.
Dr Sule Yakubu Bassi , the Secretary of NIDCOM in his welcome address spoke in advocacy towards mobilization of Nigerians in Diaspora and urged stakeholders to cooperate to see to the maximization of this potential.
Dr Mrs Omobolanle Olowu spoke on the Diasporan medical mission emphasizing the importance of following due process in the execution of Diasporan medical missions and Outreach programs stating that it was important for the focal point officers to be well informed of such initiatives prior to thier Execution in order to ensure a certain standard in their execution.
Several other speakers spoke on Diasporan home remittances , Diasporan state projects and even Diasporan investment summit initiative.
In her Adress on Diasporan investment summit initiative, Dr Mrs Badewa Williams lauded the success of the Diaspora investment summit initiative and spoke on Partnerships and empowerment of Nigerians by the Nigerian citizens in Diaspora. She pointed out the impact of foreign investors in the economy and pointed out that it was possible for Nigerians in diaspora to do all that and more in order to Grow the economy of the country.
Dr Mrs Badewa stated that the first summit was a large success and the second summit was an even larger success doubling the number of participants in the first Diaspora investment summit. She also announced the creation of a Nigeria diaspora investment trust fund to enable Nigerians in diaspora monitor the data on how much is invested in which sector of the country.
An issue which was tackled by the Price Waterhouse coopers (PWC) was the Diaspora home remittances , over 30 billion dollars was remitted in 2018, Mr Tolu Adeleke the PWC representative stated that if properly harnessed the remittances could lead to the Nation being less dependent on oil and increase trade and investment.
The issue of Diasporan enrollment for National identity number in order to create a seamless and reliable platform of identification for all Nigerians was touched by the NIMC.
The summit was largely interactive with suggestions such as the creation of a diaspora village, as well as the acceptance of drugs for medical outreach as long as they would be out of circulation by their expiration date .
All suggestions were considered and deliberated openly at the summit , and the atmosphere was generally one of learning and a common interest to harness Diasporan resources for sustainable growth of the country.
The next summit is scheduled for six months from now and is to be held in Abuja .