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Why Nigeria needs Diaspora investment – Buhari

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President Muhammadu Buhari has said, like other foresighted nations, Nigeria wants to take advantage of the attachment her citizens in the diaspora to encourage and leverage their financial resources, experiences and expertise in building the economy.

While noting that Nigerians abroad remit over $20 billion annually to the country, an amount that is equivalent to the country’s yearly budget, the President added that Diaspora Nigerians are central to the implementation of his administration’s economic blueprint, the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, ERGP.

President Buhari spoke at the first Nigeria Diaspora Investment Summit at the State House Conference Center, Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Represented by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Buhari said his administration remained optimistic as it intensified activities in implementing the ERGP that “the economy will maintain sustainable growth momentum.”

Buhari added that “although there’s still some way to go in achieving the target growth rates, the signs are strong that we are moving in the right direction.

“Let me at this point reiterate that the Diaspora, which you represent, is central to the implementation of the ERGP.

“We recognize that government’s role in the 21st century must change from being sole provider to becoming an enabler of the necessary environment to drive private-sector-led innovation and market-based solutions”

The President Buhari said Nigeria is one of the leading countries in the world in terms of diaspora remittances.

“Every year, Nigerians abroad send back more than $20 billion home, almost the equivalent of our federal budget.

“Even as Foreign Investments have ebbed and flowed over the years, these remittance flows – a large percentage of which is informal – have mostly remained stable.”

Buhari added that the Nigerian Diaspora, like most Africans Diaspora, have an emotional connection with their homeland that has impelled them to maintain contact with their home countries.

The President noted that the social media and the internet, have made it easier for Nigerians abroad to stay connected with home.

“You can read news online, contact family and friends cheaply on instant messaging apps, and generally stay informed on events and happenings as they unfold. And on top of this you have a personal stake in the future of what you will always consider to be your home country.

“Foresighted nations therefore have the unique opportunity to take advantage of this attachment to encourage and indeed leverage their financial resources, experiences and expertise in building their national economies.

“There is no doubt that many of you here have invested in some way or the other in Nigeria, in businesses, property or savings.

President Buhari assured the diaspora that his government was working to create the environment that allows investments in the country to be carried out in a structured manner that brings maximum benefit to the Nigerian economy.

“We realize that it is also important for you to be able to have confidence that your investments are secure and protected.

“This is what the policies being put in place by this administration seek to achieve, through the ERGP, PEBEC, the Executive Orders signed so far, and other initiatives.”

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