Reckoning on Nigerians in the Diaspora

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Okonjo-Iweala

Federal government holds interactive sessions with Nigerians in Europe and the United States in response to their desire to be involved in national economic development

By Anayo Ezugwu  |  Sep. 15, 2014 @ 01:00 GMT  |

REPRESENTATIVES of the federal government and the National Assembly are currently holding a series of interactive sessions with Nigerians in Europe and the United States of America with a view to involving them in the country’s economic development. The interactive sessions, organised by Abraham Nwankwo, director-general, Debt Management Office, are in response to the long-standing desire of Nigerians in the Diaspora to be involved in the country’s economic development.

In the high-powered government delegation to the interactive sessions, headed by Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, coordinating minister for the economy and minister of finance, are key members of the relevant committees in the National Assembly. They include Senator Ahmed Makarfi, chairman, Senate Committee on Finance, Senator E. Uzamere, chairman, Senate Committee on Local and Foreign Debts, Senator Ita Enang, chairman, Senate Committee on Appropriation, Adeyinka Ajayi, chairman, House Committee on Aid, Loans and Debt Management, Famurewa Ajibola Israel, House Committee on Diaspora, Abdulrahman Terab, House Committee on Finance and Emmanuel David Ombugadu, House Committee on Appropriation.

It will be recalled that Nigerians in the Diaspora have been seeking ways and means to contribute more to the country’s development. This interest is backed by, for instance, the value of remittances from Nigerians abroad in 2013 which was $20.77 billion and $10.40 billion in the first quarter of 2014. The amount includes contributions through remittances to their families, friends and communities, medical missions and provision of scholarships.

Nigeria is borrowing from the experience of countries such as Israel and India which have benefited much from the remittances of their citizens in the Diaspora.

The meetings, which started in London, will continue in New York, Washington DC and Houston between September 2-4, 2014. The London meeting, hosted by Dalhatu Sarki Tafida, Nigeria’s ambassador to the United Kingdom, was attended by over 140 invited Nigerian professionals. The meeting provided an avenue for the Continuing Ministerial Education, CME and the other members of the team to update Nigerians in the Diaspora on the developments in the Nigerian economy, the major achievements of the transformation agenda of President Goodluck Jonathan and the opportunities available in Nigeria for Nigerians in the Diaspora.

Nigerians in the Diaspora were also reassured of the developments in Nigeria with respect to the Ebola Virus Disease and the government’s management of the situation.  Participants expressed concern about the security situation in the country and urged the government to do more particularly with respect to the return of the Chibok girls. Participants also showed a lot of interest in contributing to development with investments in infrastructure, SMEs and the housing sector.

It is expected that through these sessions, Nigerians in the Diaspora will be better informed about developments in the country and be encouraged to contribute in various ways to the development of the economy and nation-building in general.

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