President Muhammadu Buhari on Saturday appealed to Nigerians in the diaspora to actively support the country’s post-COVID-19 economic recovery efforts.
Buhari made the call in a video message to commemorate this year’s Diaspora Day, observed annually on 25 July, according to a statement by the president’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina.
The statement was titled “COVID-19: President Buhari urges Nigerians in Diaspora to play active role in economic recovery as remittances inflow hit $25bn”.
Adesina said the President appealed to his compatriots, whose home remittances exceeded $25bn annually, not to abandon their fatherland in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Over the past three years, Nigerians in the diaspora have brought in over $25bn annually as home remittances to the Nigerian economy through official and non-formal channels.
“This is about 6.0% of our annual GDP and upwards of 80% of our annual budget. This has impacted on livelihoods of Nigerians in terms of education, health, housing and estate development, industry, trade and investments, agriculture and technology/skills transfer.
“In terms of diaspora home remittances, Nigeria is rated as number one in sub-Saharan Africa and this is still growing especially with the advocacy and mobilisation programmes of the newly-established Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM).
“Nigerians in Diaspora are also known to be engaged in skills transfer in ICT and industry. They are also active in our universities as lecturers, and in carrying out medical missions.
“It is, therefore, my sincere hope that even with the depressed economy under stress in the year 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Nigerians in the Diaspora will rise up to the occasion of not abandoning their country of origin, but be active in our post-COVID-19 economic recovery efforts.”
The president also lauded the support and contributions of Nigerians in the Diaspora to the socio-economic development of Nigeria, recounting fond memories of his several interactions with them at town hall meetings.
The Federal Government of Nigeria has set aside 25 July of each year as the Diaspora Day in recognition of the contribution of Nigerians living abroad to national development and to celebrate those of them who have achieved feats in various fields of endeavour. On Saturday, NIDCOM held a virtual conference to mark the day, which if not for the COVID-19 pandemic would have taken place in Abuja. The event, hosted by Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Chairman/CEO of the Commission, was attended by participants from across the globe. President Buhari spoke as the chief guest at the event.