By Aminu Imam with agency report
Africa Remittances from Nigerians in Diaspora have already reached some estimated $10.40 billion within the first half of the year, almost half of the $20.77 billion that was reported for the whole of 2013.
The Ministry of Finance, which disclosed this on Tuesday said the money comprised remittances to their families, friends and communities, medical missions as well as provision of scholarships.
Analysts said on Tuesday that the 2014 numbers would sufficiently surpass 2013 record considering that most of the remittances happen mostly towards the end of the year when festivities are ripe.
It would be recalled that Nigerians in the Diaspora have been seeking ways and means to contribute more to the country’s development. Following this, the Federal Government is working out about $300
million Diaspora bond to be floated before the end of the year. The bond would enable Nigerians living abroad to invest in infrastructure back home.
Meanwhile, a high level executive-legislative team is currently holding a series of interactive sessions with Nigerians in Europe and the United States, obviously to sell the Diaspora bond. The sessions
are organised by the Debt Management Office (DMO) led by its director-general, Abraham Nwankwo.
This is a response to the long-standing desire of the Nigerian Diaspora to support economic development in the country, the finance ministry said in a statement.
The delegation is headed by the coordinating minister for the economy and minister of finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, and includes key members of relevant committees in the National Assembly.
The members of the National Assembly are Ahmed Makarfi, chairman, Senate Committee on Finance; E. Uzamere, chairman, Senate Committee on Local and Foreign Debts; Ita Enang, chairman, Senate Committee on Appropriation; Adeyinka Ajayi, chairman, House Committee on Aid, Loans and Debt Management; Famurewa Ajibola Israel, House Committee on Diaspora; Abdulrahman Terab, House Committee on Finance and Emmanuel David Ombugadu, House Committee on Appropriation.
According to the ministry, the meetings started on Tuesday in London, and will continue in New York, Washington DC and Houston between September 2 and 4, 2014.
The London meeting hosted by the Nigerian ambassador to the United Kingdom, Dalhatu Sarki Tafida, was attended by over 140 invited Nigerian professionals.
The ministry further noted that the meeting provided an avenue for the coordinating minister for the economy and the other members of the team to update Nigerians in the Diaspora on the developments in the Nigerian economy, the major achievements of President Goodluck
Jonathan’s transformation agenda and the opportunities available in Nigeria for Diaspora Nigerians.
“It is expected that through these sessions, Nigerians in Diaspora will be better informed about developments in the country and be encouraged to contribute in various ways to the development of the economy and nation-building in general,” Paul C Nwabuikwu, special adviser to the coordinating minister for the economy and minister of finance, noted.