Buhari approves diaspora investment fund

President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday approved the establishment of the Nigerian Diaspora Investment Trust Fund (NDITF), a private sector investment window that will enable Nigerians abroad support direct investments in the country.

The fund will allow Nigerians in the diaspora pull resources together, with the Federal Government contributing the necessary counterpart fund.

The president believes that the establishment of the intervention fund will help the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM) fulfil its mandate, noting that the foreign exchange remittances by Nigerians outside the country have not only helped families but enhanced the development index of Nigeria.

The World Bank projects that Nigeria’s diaspora remittance inflow into the country moves to beat the latest World Bank’s projection for 2021, as annual diaspora remittances is projected to hit $18 billion, slightly above the $17.6 billion projected by the World Bank for 2021.

Diaspora remittances continue to show positive upward trend as the report indicates that the $14.2 billion remitted in the nine months ending September 2021, is 10 percent bigger in year-on-year (YoY), from $12.9 billion projections made on the backdrop of economic recovery from the impact of global COVID-19 pandemic.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) report shows that diaspora remittances rose by 5.1 percent, quarter-on-quarter (QoQ), to $4.28 billion in the first quarter of 2021 (Q1 ’21) compared to $4.07 billion in Q4’2020.

This is as the upward trend continued in Q2 and Q3, as diaspora remittances rose QoQ by 21 per cent and 1.0 per cent to $4.92 billion and $4.97 billion.

The CBN reports show a trend, translating into average quarterly remittances of $4.72 billion.

Speaking at the presentation of a compendium entitled +600 Diaspora Icons @ 60, published by NiDCOM, the president said Nigeria is open to welcoming the diaspora direct investment by compatriots abroad.

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The president described the 327-page compendium as a historical record of the worth of our compatriots globally, adding that the distinguished list in the publication is a reminder of what Nigerians are capable of doing to the delight of the global community.

‘‘Irrespective of the few bad eggs among us, and every nation has such bad eggs, Nigeria remains a great country, populated by great people, living at home or abroad, making us proud.

‘‘This compendium attests to that fact and the names of people and the fields they have excelled in speak about their resilience and how exceptional Nigerians, both at home and abroad, have become.’’

He reminded Nigerians that it was their duty to extol and celebrate compatriots that excel in their chosen careers and professions.

“No one else will do so for us. Rather, other people will tend to capitalise on the few bad eggs and characterise us in their own narratives that seek to portray us in a bad light. We must not allow that to happen.

‘‘As we launch the compendium of excellent Nigerians today, we are also celebrating some of our best, nationally and globally.

‘‘I call on every Nigerian, irrespective of where they may be, to continue to be of exemplary behaviour and with determination to offer quality services that contribute to the progress of humanity.’’

Congratulating those whose names made it to this first edition, President Buhari encouraged others to work more conscientiously to make the list in the subsequent editions.

Recounting his engagements with Nigerians in the diaspora during his official travels abroad, the president said his diaspora threefold agenda remains unchanged.

‘‘Nigerians in the diaspora are our ambassadors-at-large by their character, comportment and daily actions.

‘‘They should be the best and excel in all their endeavours and they should ‘give back’ by contributing to the development of Nigeria.’’

He commended the commission led by Abike Dabiri-Erewa for the energy and innovative steps they put together to ensure better engagements with the diaspora community.

‘‘Rebuilding Nigeria is not the responsibility of Nigerians who live at home alone but of every Nigerian irrespective of the place of domicile,’’ he said.

Chairman/CEO of NiDCOM, Dabiri-Erewa said the idea of the compendium was inspired from the regular diaspora presidential town hall meetings.

‘‘The compendium is birthed out of the necessity to recognise, celebrate and showcase Nigerians in the diaspora who are doing great things in their host countries and also contributing to the socio-economic development of Nigeria,’’ she said.

Dabiri-Erewa explained that the commission plans to publish the compendium at regular intervals, towards changing the negative stereotypes typified by the activities of a few Nigerians who do not represent the country well.

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