Adeosun Calls For Economic Patriotism From Nigerians in the Diaspora

Adeosun Calls For Economic Patriotism From Nigerians in the Diaspora
July 25 22:09 2016 Print This Article

*Describes Remittances as key contributor to Nation building.

The Federal Government has called on Nigerians in the Diaspora to see the current economic realities in the country as good opportunities for them to participate actively in the ongoing efforts to reposition the nation’s economy.

The Minister, who spoke at the 2016 Diaspora Conference in Abuja, on Monday,  described Diaspora as a key part of the Nigerian Community, which has a key role to play at this critical time. Stressing the need for a collective action, the Minister said, “What Nigeria needs now is Economic Patriotism that will support this administration’s efforts to reposition the economy.”

She stated, “We must never become so comfortable abroad that we forget or worse still despise our roots. Rebuilding Nigeria is an important mission for the next generation, who deserve the chance of a Nigeria that provides opportunities for them.”

According to the Minister, “Other diaspora communities retain strong links to

their motherland and we must do so in order to retain the fabric of our families and our value system.”

She pointed out that the current administration is rebuilding Nigeria based on fundamental values that shaped the childhood of many people but which were sadly abandoned by a few in pursuit of aggrandisement wealth that they can never spend. Those fundamental values, according to her, include hard work, enterprise, honesty,and self-reliance.

Calling for understanding and patience on the part of the citizens, Adeosun explained that fundamental shifts need time to be developed properly with adequate windows for consultation before they can be successfully implemented.

“However, once implemented they will be permanent in ensuring that we maximise all our endowments to compliment oil, rather than relying on oil which has created ‘economic laziness’,” she stated.

The Minister noted that Nigeria has in the past spent like a stereotypical oil economy, which has lots of oil and a low population. She said in reality we have some oil but a very large population. “Our 2.2 M bpd must be shared by 170M of us whereas Kuwait has 2.9M barrels and 4.1 M people. So we simply cannot afford to operate as if oil was unlimited. That adjustment should have happened many decades ago and had it been done we would not be experiencing our current challenges.”

Speaking on measures being put in place to ensure the safety of remittances to beneficiaries in the country, the Minister said improved mechanisms have been put in place to continue to ensure that funds are reaching their intended recipients. These measures, according to her, included a combination of the introduction of a more flexible exchange rate, which closes the gap between official and parallel market rates on one hand, and the improved technology and e-payments systems as are being advocated for use in the Federal Government’s recently introduced Social Welfare Programme.

She stated that the fight against poverty has for the first time ever been embraced formally at Federal Government level with the inclusion of N500Bn in the budget for social intervention programmes, adding that supporting the poor is a responsibility of the entire Nigerian community including the diaspora.

She stated, “Remittances are a key part of our national income and this points to the strong family ties that form the fabric of Nigeria’s society and this we must not lose sight of.  As emigrant remittances are very stable it is important that they are channelled into where they are most needed, we will create investment products and opportunities that will encourage and incentivise you to remit funds.

These include our planned infrastructure bonds and social housing funds.“I urge you to support family with positive investments that will have long term impact as well as day to day income support. Supporting families to become self-sufficient will reduce dependency in the long term. Government is looking at how we can facilitate this structural support with a number of initiatives.

For example we are looking at de-risked franchise opportunities in the job creation programme YouWin. This will enable investment of a fixed sum into a “managed” business opportunity with training support as well as monitoring and evaluation.

Similarly less money would be remitted to cover medical emergencies if we would simply commit to paying health insurance premiums for our families here in Nigeria.”

The Minister also sought a review of mode of donations from Nigerians in the

Diaspora, noting that some of the donations have become avenues for abuse, which has resulted in revenue leakage.

She said, “Donating consumer items under the medical donations has created windows for the importation of expired drugs as well as drugs that are intended for resale. My personal appeal would be that, where the items are available in Nigeria and especially those that are manufactured in Nigeria please donate in cash rather than in kind. Build the safeguards to ensure that your intended objectives are attained rather than incurring the cost of shipping and clearing goods that are readily available in Nigeria and whose purchase will support Nigerian jobs.”

Mrs. Adeosun cautioned against panic over the recent liberalization of the exchange rate by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). She said: “As the Central Bank has recently liberalised the exchange rate management, I urge you not to panic by joining those who economists terms as Irrational. The rate will need time to settle into a predictable path that will be driven by fundamentals. Typically with such adjustments, markets will overreact and later correct back down to a fundamentally driven level and the naira will be no exception. Flexible exchange rates will allow our currency to adjust based on fundamental and known drivers, I point out that the recent Brexit announcement has seen the pound under pressure so it is a normal economic phenomenon and not a trigger for panic. Nigeria is going to rebuild stronger with a more resilient and diverse revenue base and I believe that the currency will ultimately reflect this,” The Minister stated.

Mrs. Adeosun described Nigeria diaspora as a key part of the Nigerian community both socially and economically and in the current tough economic clime, she said there is a need for economic patriotism so that we all play our part of rebuilding the nation, saying it starts with a love for the nation, it is followed with honest assessment and supported by action not rhetoric.

She reiterated her calls for confidence in the improving quality of Nigerian made goods. She urged Nigerians to patronise locally made goods wherever they find them. “As part of our diversification, we will be exporting more of your staple foods and we are working to retool our customs, quarantine and other services to focus on export. We are the largest component of African diaspora, so where available look for and purchase Nigerian made goods.”

Calling on Nigerians in the Diaspora not to lose confidence in their country,Mrs. Adeosun stated, “The most important measure that attracts remittances is theconfidence that you have in Nigeria’s future. The diaspora in other nations havebeen nation builders, it starts with a mind-set that Nigeria is a nation we areproud of to do this we must put aside present frustrations and resist the temptation to speak negatively but rather proffer suggestions and volunteer to be part of the solution. To do so we must be humble and respect those on ground inNigeria rather that comes with seemingly ready-made solutions, which may prove to be impractical.”

She disclosed that all the countries that host the Diaspora community developed over time by a process of continuous improvement driven by a commitment to service. President Muhammadu Buhari, according to her, is totally committed to this nation and we must therefore recognise the tough situation we have inherited and support efforts that will rebuild our economy. She, however explained “Our rebuilding will not be based on the template of the past where we had GDP growth without development, rather we will pursue an inclusive growth based on our traditional values of hard work, honesty and fair play.

“For too long we have spoken about the potential of Nigeria and very little has been done. I am very pleased to tell you that despite our current challengeNigerians are like never before looking inwards to identify and exploit long abandoned opportunities that will lead to long-term growth. As painful as it is today, it is gratifying to be discussing with Governors across the nation who are exploiting their God given endowments rather than waiting for their monthly share of oil revenues in the form of FAAC. From rice growing in Kebbi, Ebonyi and Ogun to the commercial exports of vegetables from Anambra, to the exploit of solid minerals in Bauchi Nigeria is waking up and frontally addressing its challenges.

“I urge you to join us in whatever way you can to rebuild Nigeria. When in 1707Britain began to call itself Great it was very far from Great. Indeed, even the name Britain was named by the Romans (Britannia) and was a reference to a geographical split between two regions. Britannia Major and Minor. So it does not matter who named us Nigeria and the history thereof, what is critical is where we can go.  Let us refrain from habitual negativity from the confines of our comfortable lives as we have just one Nigeria and we must move forward together.”

write a comment

1 Comment

  1. Olivia
    July 26, 06:13 #1 Olivia

    Please for the benefit of those who do not know the name of the minister, kindly remember to put the name in ur story next time

    Reply to this comment

Add a Comment

Your data will be safe! Your e-mail address will not be published. Also other data will not be shared with third person.
All fields are required.