Nigeria’s Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, has revealed that the Nigerians in diaspora asked for improvement in the enabling business environment in order to make more investments into Nigeria in specific engagements with investment opportunities.
This follows the conduct of a study by the Federal Government with stakeholders, which found out that many Nigerians have a keen interested in investing in the country.
This disclosure was made by Osinbajo while speaking at a webinar organized by Fidelity Bank Plc, entitled, ‘The New FX Policy, Implications and Positive Impact on Diaspora Investments’
Osinbajo, who was represented by the Executive Secretary/Chief Executive Officer of Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC), Yewande Sadiku, commended the new CBN FX policy, ‘Naira 4 Dollar Scheme,’ an initiative aimed at incentivising senders and recipients of international money transfers, saying it would aid more investment from Nigerians living abroad.
Osinbajo pointed out that for several years, the remittances from Nigerians in diaspora exceeded Nigeria’s oil revenue, adding that the country is interested in finding out how to translate this potential to investments.
He said, “Nigerians in diaspora represent an indomitable force, they are flag bearers of Nigeria’s image, Nigeria entrepreneurial energy and Nigeria’s incredible can-do attitude. In business, politics, education, sports, entertainment, science, medicine, and arts, Nigerians have demonstrated across the world what Nigerians represent in Nigeria. We realise the role of the diaspora and the potential that they represent.
“For several years, the remittances from Nigerians in diaspora exceeded Nigeria’s oil revenues, which translated sometimes as high as six per cent of GDP. We are interested in understanding exactly how to translate this potential to investments.
“So, the office of the VP working with stakeholders, including NIPC, worked on a study and we found that many Nigerians, particularly first-generation males, have a keen interest in investing in their country.”
Going further, Osinbajo added, “We noticed that 70 per cent of remittances go into family support and only 30 per cent of the inflows go into investments and in that 30 per cent, a bulk of it goes into real-estate.
“But what Nigerians in the diaspora indicated would be useful for them is to undertake more investments into Nigeria in specific engagements that promote investment opportunities led by the private sector. From government, what they asked for was improvement in the enabling business environment.
“The effort of government in recent years has been on improving the business environment and initiatives, such as this, driven by the private sector, to attract investment from the diaspora is one of the key things they asked for,’’ he said.
The Vice President expressed delight with the new CBN policy that makes it easier for Nigerians in diaspora not just to transfer funds to Nigeria but to have greater control over the funds they transfer to Nigeria.
He said that he is confident that when statistics would be released, there would be a material impact on the diaspora remittances from Nigerians to Nigeria.
The Naira 4 Dollar scheme
It can be recalled that the CBN in an earlier circular dated March 5, 2021, stated its new forex policy initiative that all recipients of diaspora remittances through the apex bank’s licensed IMTOs shall henceforth be paid N5 for every $1 received as remittance inflow as an incentive.
This means for instance if an individual sends you $10,000, you will get an additional special credit alert of N50,000.
The new policy initiative which is with effect from Monday, March 8 and end on Saturday, May 8, 2021, states that this incentive is to be paid to recipients whether they choose to collect the US dollar as cash across the counter in a bank or transfer same into their domiciliary account. In effect, a typical recipient of diaspora remittances will at the point of collection, receive not only the USD sent from abroad but also the additional N5 per USD received.”