The Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM) on Thursday reaffirmed its commitment for diaspora engagements by providing enabling environment for networking, exchange of ideas and policy direction.
The Chairman/CEO of NiDCOM, Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa, said this at the second edition of Summit of the State Diaspora Focal Point Officers and Standing Committee on Diaspora Matters in Abuja.
The summit, which was sponsored by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), has as its theme: Consolidating Diaspora in the State.
She said that since the establishment of the commission a year ago, it has actulised its mandate of engaging Nigerians in the Diaspora in policies, projects and participation in the development of the Nigeria.
Dabiri-Erewa added that NiDCOM has accomplished the task of mobilising the state governments to join the commission in providing the enabling environment for the Diaspora give-back phenomenon.
“State governments responded to the call by the Commission to appoint State Diaspora Focal Point Officers, and on February 4, the first inaugural Summit took place in Abuja.
“This is the second summit, and I am delighted to inform this summit that twenty seven states and the FCT have so far appointed state officers, who are here today.
“It is pertinent to note that state Diaspora focal point officers are integral to the implementation of the programmes of NiDCOM.
“This is because whatever resources are sourced from the Diaspora, and channelled back home, they will be invested or deposited in the 36 states and the FCT government respectively.
“Countries that have tapped into their Diaspora resources earlier than Nigeria have recorded unprecedented development and growth,” she said.
For his part, Mr Frantz Celestine, the Chief of Mission for IOM, said that Nigerians in the diaspora had contributed substantially to the development of Nigeria.
Celestine was represented by Osigwe Ukamaka, the National Programme Officer for IOM.
He added that in 2017, Nigeria received remittances up to 22 billion US dollars and became the highest recipient of remittances in Africa and the fifth highest recipient in the world after India, China, Mexico, and Philippines.
According to Celestine, it means that Nigeria receives more in remittances than in foreign direct investment, official development assistance, and other inflows.
“You will agree with me that this has both direct and indirect impacts on the economy as well as on poverty reduction at national and community levels.
“In recognition of the developmental potentials of the diaspora, many countries of origin have formulated polices for diaspora engagement aimed at leveraging on their overseas communities as a resource for development.
“Such polices ranges from securing better welfare conditions for their migrants abroad, to promoting investment and contributions to development of which such engagement could be a catalyst to technology transfer, investment, and economic development of
“The importance of diaspora engagement for national development cannot be overemphasised and that is the reason IOM within the framework of the EUTF project has supported the government of Nigeria,” he said.
Edited By: Shittu Obassa/Felix Ajide