Fred Itua and Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja
Federal Government, yesterday, dismissed the over $24 billion remittances by Nigerians in the diaspora every year as gross misrepresentation of the facts, adding that the figure was far higher.
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, stated this in Abuja at an event organised by Euro-African Dialogue on Migration and Development, also known as the Rabat Process.
The event was tagged technical workshop on diaspora remittances and sustainable development.
“The European Union has talked about the diaspora remittances of Nigeria. The figure being bandied about is $25 billion a year remittance. That’s a lot of figure actually, but this figure is not accurate; it is very far from being accurate. In any case, there are huge resources coming into the country from Nigerians in the diaspora and the challenge as with so many countries is how to use those resources to promote the development of the country.”
The minister revealed that the annual remittances represents 6.1 per cent of Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Products (GDP) and 83 per cent of the national budget.
“It is also 11 times the foreign direct investment flows into the country within the same period. So, that’s huge I must confess,” Onyeama said.
He said a well-managed migration would offer opportunities for individuals and states of all the concerned countries, adding that “the Rabat Process aims to foster solidarity, partnership and shared responsibility in the management of migration issues. By sharing experiences and challenges, other countries learn best practices that would also enhance their development and address the root causes of migration.
“Let me also inform that Nigeria has participated in the Valletta Summit on Migration in 2015 in which an action plan was developed and built around five priority domains.
“It was also agreed that actions will be implemented in full coherence with countries’ sovereignty, national legislations and taking into account national specificities. It was further agreed that the existing mechanisms of the Rabat Process, the Khartoum Process and of the Joint EU-Africa Strategy will be used to monitor implementation.”
The workshop which was chaired by the Kingdom of Belgium and the French Republic seeks to explore the issue of the productivity of diaspora remittances and instruments and initiatives which enable remittances to better contribute to sustainable development.