By Maureen Okon
Abuja -. President Muhammadu Buhari on Saturday in Abuja commended the contributions of Nigerians in Diaspora to the social-economic development of the country.
Buhari said this at the maiden Virtual National Diaspora Day celebration held via Webinar with the theme for the event was “Leverage the Diaspora Resources for National Development.”
He said that over the past three years, Nigerians in diaspora had brought in over 25 billion dollars as home remittances to the Nigerians economy annually through official and non-formal channels.
“This is about six per cent of our GDP and upwards of 80 per cent of our annual budget. This has impacted on the livelihoods of Nigerians in terms of education, health, housing and estate development, industry, trade and investments.
“Agriculture and technology/skills transfer. In terms of diaspora home remittances, Nigeria is rated as number one in sub-saharan Africa and this is still growing, especially with the advocacy and mobilisation programmes of the newly established Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM).
“The Nigerians in Diaspora are also known to be engaged in skill transfer in ICT and industry. They are also active in our Universities as lecturers and in carrying out Medical Missions.
“It is therefore my sincere hope that even with the depressed economy of the 2020 due to the corona virus pandemic, Nigerians in the diaspora will rise up to the occasion of not abandoning their country of origin, Nigeria.
“But be active in our Post COVID-19 economic recovery efforts. My three point agenda for Nigerians in Diaspora remains the same and it is relevant at this auspicious occasion and I repeat them as follows:
“You are our ambassador-at-large by your actions, comportment and character in your host countries. In whatever endeavor you do, you must excel and be the best, and lastly, do not forget home, Nigeria by giving back and engaging in its development,’’ he said.
The President added that in his interactions with Nigerians in the Diaspora at the town hall meetings, he had been impressed with their support and contributions to the socio-economic development of Nigeria.