Adewale Sanyaolu, Houston, Texas
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Seplat Petroleum Development Company Plc, Mr. Austin Avuru, has said that Diaspora remittances by Nigerians in 2018 surpassed the nation’s earnings from oil and gas in the same year.
Avuru, stated this at the Nigerian-American Multicultural Council (NAMC) 8th Annual Gala Night in Houston, Texas, where he was the Honorary Gala Chair and Lifetime Achievement Awardee.
Nigerians in the Diaspora in 2017 remitted $22 billion, making it the highest in Sub-Saharan African region followed by Senegal and Ghana with $2.2 billion each for the year. Currently, the country is among the top five nations in global remittances.
Chief economist at PriceWaterCoopers (PwC) Nigeria, Prof Andrew Nevin, had said Nigeria’s citizens living outside the country remitted an estimated $25 billion in 2018, making them its biggest export.
Avuru, who quoted the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) stated that, the bureau had two weeks ago disclosed in its report that for the full year 2018, diaspora remittances for the first time exceeded Federal Government’s earnings from oil and gas sector.
The PwC’s Chief Economist, in a report titled, “Nigeria Economic Outlook: Top 10 Themes For 2019”, noted that remittances to Nigeria represent 6.1 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and translate to 83 per cent of the Federal Government budget in 2018.
This was as statistics from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) indicated that Nigeria earned N5.54 trillion from the petroleum industry in 2018, amounting to 60.88 per cent of the N9.1 trillion budget for the 2018 fiscal year and 63.45 per cent of the N8.73 trillion proposed budget for 2019.
The Seplat boss while addressing Nigerian professionals in Houston, Texas admonished them to use their wealth of knowledge, and wide contact to help develop the country’s economy.
He noted that the remittance figure for 2018 is an indication that Nigerians in diaspora have not forgotten their heritage in all they do outside the shores of the country.
‘‘You may not really know the value you are contributing to the economy even while you are here. But your remittances to Nigeria is in no small measure contributing to the country’s growth.
For me, if you are emphasising the bridge between Nigeria and America, it is about enterprise and value creation. It is pleasing to note that, we Nigerians are no longer invitees to the banquet but co-organisers and participants in the banquet.
From the young men and women to the old ones, the position that you hold in multinational organisations, and the entrepreneurs that have risen to height, both here and back in Nigeria attest to your tenacity.
And even when you recollect that all of these successes are personal efforts and not as a result of any government backing or push; that means that one day, when we finally get our governance right, things will take a turn for the best.’’