President Muhammadu Buhari has urged Nigerians in the Diaspora to actively participate in the country’s Post-COVID-19 economic recovery efforts.
In a video message to commemorate this year’s Diaspora Day, observed on July 25 of every year, President Buhari appealed to his compatriots, whose home remittances exceeded $25 billion annually in three years, 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 $25 billion 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 mobilization programmes of the newly established Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM).
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“Nigerians in Diaspora are also known to be engaged in skill 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 abandon their country of origin, but be active in our Post-COVID-19 economic recovery efforts,” he said.
President Buhari told participants from Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe and Oceania at the webinar event that his three-point agenda for the Nigerians in Diaspora remains the same and particularly relevant on the auspicious occasion.
Reiterating the agenda, the Nigerian leader said:
”You are our Ambassadors-at-large by your behaviour and character in your host countries.
”Whatever legitimate endeavour you choose, you must excel and be the best.
”Do not forget home, Nigeria, by giving back and engaging in its development.”
The President also used the occasion to commend 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.
While congratulating them on this year’s celebration, President Buhari said the Federal Government set aside July 25 of every year to celebrate Nigerians in Diaspora, who are estimated to be over 17 million.
According to him, “the Day is also to facilitate networking among the Diaspora with the Ministries, Departments and Agencies, the Government, the Diaspora State Focal Point Officers and other private and Civil Society Organization participants in the implementation of a practical framework for the effective engagement of the Diaspora for national development.”