Friday Olokor, Abuja
The Federal Government on Tuesday faulted the $25 billion figure given by the National Bureau of Statistics as the annual remittances from Nigerians in the diaspora.
The government specifically said the figure often bandied about was actually not a true reflection of diaspora remittances to Nigeria.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, made the clarification in Abuja during the opening of a two-day technical workshop on Diaspora Remittances and Sustainable Development under the chairmanship of the Kingdom of Belgium and the French Republic.
The event which was organized by the Euro-African Dialogue on Migration and Development, also known as the Rabat Process, was chaired by the Kingdom of Belgium and the French Republic.
The Minister, however, said the challenge with most countries was how to channel such remittances to development.
Enyeama said, “As you know, in the past few years, it is said that Nigerians in diaspora remittances is $25 billion. The figure being bandied about is $25billion per year in remittances. Well, I read not too long ago that this figure is inaccurate.
“It is very far from being accurate because when you logically think about it, it is huge and as they say, it even dwarfs the budget. It is hard to fathom. So, I think there is some debate as to how accurate that really is. But of course, we will love it to be that. There are huge resources coming into the country from Nigerians in diaspora and the challenge, as with most countries, is how to channel those resources to development.”
The Minister stressed the importance of diaspora remittances to sustainable national development, especially if properly harnessed.
He urged stakeholders to consider the cost of remitting the funds home, saying there was the need to make it easier for those in the diaspora to remit funds.