By Kate Obande-Okewu
Abuja – The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, has lauded the contributions of Nigerians in Diaspora to national development.
Mustapha applauded them at the 2018 Diaspora Day titled, “Effective Engagement for National Development,’’ on Wednesday in Abuja.
The event was organised by the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (OSGF), in collaboration with Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation (NIDO)
He said that the World Bank had recently declared that Nigerian living abroad remitted 22 billion dollars (over six trillion naira) in 2017, which was recorded as the highest remittance in the world.
“With this in mind, the Federal Government thought it wise to set a day aside yearly to assess opportunities and challenges to effective collaborations that would pave way for sustainable engagement with the Diaspora for national development.
“It is my sincere belief that the Diaspora community if well coordinated can lead to even better impact, not only on individual family units but also on the society at large.
“We are looking forward to not only fund remittances but also science and technology transfer, innovations, improvements in education, healthcare delivery among others,’’ he said.
He noted that this administration had taken giant strides to harness these contributions by establishing the Diaspora Commission Act, 2017.
Mustapha said that the commission would coordinate Nigerians in and from the Diaspora to contribute human capital and material resources for the development of Nigeria.
He added that the Draft National Policy on Diaspora Matters was currently undergoing a review by experts to create an enabling environment that would facilitate participation in national development.
In her address, Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Diaspora matters, urged Nigerians in Diaspora to join President Muhammadu Buhari in the fight against corruption.
According to her, Nigerians in Diaspora are doing well in the health sector and should endeavour to incorporate their expertise in Nigeria’s health sector.
She added that they should work together as one entity to move the country forward by discovering its full potentials.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President, called on the Diasporas to always project Nigeria in a good light irrespective of the country they find themselves.
Miss Ivanka Spadina, representative of the Chief of Mission, International Organisation for Migration (IOM), said that Diasporas play an important role in the economic development of their countries, long before the international community even noticed.
“To unlock the potential of Diasporas, it is highly imperative to put in place policies and other regulatory frameworks and programmes that will create the enabling environment for Diaspora investment to thrive.
“ Against this background, IOM within the framework of the ongoing European Union Trust Fund and IOM Initiative on Migrants Protection and Reintegration funded by the EU is supporting the Government of Nigeria to finalise the draft National Diaspora Policy.
“And facilitate its adoption by the Federal Executive Council, to achieve this, a Standing Committee on Diaspora Matters was inaugurated on 16th February, 2018 to coordinate and oversee Diaspora activities in the country,’’ she said.(NAN)