The chairman of Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), Abike Dabiri-Erewa, has said that despite security challenges facing the country, foreign investors have not been discouraged from coming to invest, advising Nigerians to do same and seize available opportunities with both hands.
She said this at a press briefing to announce the 4th Nigeria Diaspora Investment Summit (NDIS) 2021, with the theme: “Diaspora Partnership and Linkages for Post COVID Economic Growth”, set to hold on November 16-17 at the State House Conference Center, Abuja.
According to the NIDCOM boss, security challenges are not peculiar to Nigeria alone but Muhammadu Buhari led administration was doing all within its power to tackle the situation, urging Nigerians not to de market the country nor be discouraged by the situation.
She said: “We have been talking foreign direct investment it’s now time to talk about Diaspora direct investment.”
The event which is going to be hybrid in-line with COVID-19 protocols, she said will be declared open by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
She explained that the Nigeria Diaspora Investment Summit (NDIS) is a private sector initiative backed and enabled by government through the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM).
“The primary aim of this initiative is to demonstrate that at a time when competition for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) is at its fiercest, targeting Nigerians in Diaspora for inward investment is probably the best strategy, particularly in the light of a heightened risk profile for the country.
“This is further corroborated by the fact that a number of first and second generation Nigerians in Diaspora are among a narrow but growing demographic band, experiencing increased wealth with more disposable incomes in the societies where they reside. Typically, they have paid off their mortgages, trained their children through college and are either retired or retiring, with a longing for self-actualization by way of leaving a legacy for the next generation. And, unlike the foreign investor, they are not overly influenced by the negative risk profile of the country but are motivated by a sentimental attraction, a strong desire to give back and help in developing the home country for their children and grandchildren. They know the terrain, are familiar with the risks and are thus easier to attract as investors.”
Dabiri-Erewa, recalled that the inaugural Summit, which held on November 26th -28th, 2018, was a huge success, attracting over 300 participants and investors, hence the decision to make it an annual event. She added that about 5,000 Nigerians in diaspora including investors have registered to attend the summit.
She said: “At the inaugural Summit, through collaborative effort with the Nigeria Investment Promotion Council (NIPC), the Organized Private Sector and some banks, over 100 businesses and projects ready for investment were identified and attracted. This year, we aim to double that number! We also aim to increase the number of participants and to achieve higher number of closed deals this year.
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“The 2021 Summit will target the key sectors of the economy – Agribusiness, Education, Health Care,Creative, Entertainment & Sport, Infrastructure & Real Estate, Manufacturing, Telecommunications, ICT & FinTech and Oil & Gas.
“This year’s theme, “Diaspora Partnership and Linkages for Post-COVID Economic Growth” recognizes the important role Diaspora can play, and indeed has played, in helping other countries achieve amazing economic growth and transformation. The Summit therefore underscores the fact that Nigerians in Diaspora, who currently account for the highest net contribution to Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflows into the country, with $25 billion remitted in 2018, represent a game-changing leverage for the country as the economy seeks to exit recession and head towards growth.
“This year’s Summit comes on the heels of the government’s current emphasis on providing unprecedented support for the small business sector, agriculture, and massive infrastructure development. Given that these are the top three job creating sectors in any economy, it vindicates the decision of the Summit organizers to prioritize them. Diaspora investors will therefore be encouraged to channel their investments into these, as well as the other sectors.”
The NIDCOM boss added that diaspora remittances have increased above N25 billion annually, attributing it to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) introduction of the “CBN Naira 4 Dollar Scheme’, an incentive for senders and recipients of Intemational Money Transfers, earlier in March, aimed to sustain the encouraging increase in inflows of diaspora remittances into the country.
The poly states that all recipients of diaspora remittances through CBN licensed IMTOs shall henceforth be paid N5 for every USD1 received as remittance inflow.
Dabiri-Erewa, also said to protect people’s investments, the commission has partnered with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC).
In her remarks, Summit Coordinator, Dr. Badewa T. Adejugbe-Williams, said targeting diaspora was the best way of attracting investments, especially small business.
She recalled how a returnee, whom she refused to name, lost $2.5 million prior to the commencement of the summit, but had since triple his investment in the country after the knowledge gain from one of the summit he attended.
“Let’s see insecurity as opportunities to investment. There are insecurity everywhere and compared to other places, we are not doing too bad. Let’s invest in our country”, she said.
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