Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Executive Chairman, Nigerians in the Diaspora Commission, has expressed optimism that the recent validated National Diaspora Policy 2019 would create an enabling environment for the Diaspora investments to thrive in Nigeria.
Dabiri-Erewa stated this in Abuja at the stakeholders’ meeting for the validation of the Draft National Diaspora Policy organised by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the United Nations (UN) Migration Agency, in collaboration with the Nigerian National Volunteer Service (NNVS) within the framework of the European Union (EU) – IOM Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration in Nigeria” funded by the EU.
She assured that her office would forward the document to the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation for onward transmission to the yet- to-be constituted Federal Executive Council for adoption.
It would be recalled that Nigeria is ranked as the fifth largest remittance receiving developing country in the world and the highest in Africa, with an estimate of $22 billion annually.
She expressed joy that the policy document was thorough, comprehensive and all-embracing, adding that countries like India, Pakistan, among others, have fully explored the huge potential in the Diasporas in their developmental strides.
“We need to tap into enormous human resources which Nigeria is blessed with. It is all about human capital development,” she said.
To this end, Dabiri-Erewa appealed to the IOM and EU to collaborate with the government of Nigeria in the implementation of the Policy when adopted by the Federal Executive Council.
Also speaking, the Chief of Mission, IOM Nigeria, Frantz Celestin, said the Diaspora represents significant untapped potential for national development, adding that governments at both ends of the migration cycle recognise the value of the Diaspora’s engagements and are seeking ways to optimise this engagement.
Celestin said countries of origin wish to attract the Diaspora talents and resources while countries of destination hope to increase the effectiveness of their development assistance, as well as immigration and integration policies.
Celestin, represented by Maria Quintero, noted that the Diaspora engagement is a process that requires a sustained effort, especially to support Diaspora investment, entrepreneurship endeavours, social remittances and knowledge transfers.
He explained that IOM has supported various African governments to build partnership and trust with the Diaspora as well as facilitate policies and actions aimed at mobilising the Diaspora for development.
“I am pleased to inform you that IOM has successfully implemented various programmes towards Diaspora mobilisation including the return of qualified African nationals and migration for development in Africa of which strong government commitment and ownership were keys to their successful implementation and achievements,” he said.
He further underscored the need to unlock the potential of the Diaspora through putting in place policies and other regulatory framework and programmes that would create the enabling environment for Diaspora investment to thrive.
He therefore tasked the Nigerian in Diaspora Commission to ensure speedy adoption of the Policy by the Federal Executive Council before the end of 2019.
Celestin assured that IOM was committed to support the Government of Nigeria in building partnership and trust with its Diaspora, as well as facilitate policies and actions aimed at mobilising Nigerians in the Diaspora for national development.