Poised to replicate huge economic and technical contributions to home state
* Target agric, agribusiness, oil and gas servicing, manufacturing and ICT etc.
By Kasarachi Azuka, Asaba
Deltans in the Diaspora are so far contributing $1Bn in remittances back home every year. They have now vowed to make major economic contributions at home to replicate some of the things they see abroad.
Deltans in the Diaspora have embarked on a journey to replicate for Delta State the huge economic and technical contributions that the Overseas Chinese and the Jewish Diaspora have made for their respective countries over the past decades.
The journey which began with the the Delta Business Platform (DBP) has culminated in the creation of an annual Delta State Diaspora Business Conference which would be used to achieve their set goal, and the conference has got the state governor, Ifeanyi Okowa’s official endorsement.
Announcing the endorsement to newsmen in Asaba, Wednesday, Jude Osakwe, the chairman and chief executive officer (CEO), Delta State Business Platform, said the state governor, Ifeanyi Okowa had officially endorsed the annual conference.
He said that annual event is timed deliberately for December to enable delegates coming from abroad to combine it with the Christmas and new Year holidays.
“The objective of Delta State Diaspora Business Conference is to create organized channels for Deltans abroad to invest capital, intellectual resources, capacity, networks amongst others, in the economy of the state.
Osakwe noted that, “In 2018, Nigerians in the Diaspora remitted $25Bn home, representing 6.1% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). This figure translates to 83% of the Federal Government budget in 2018, and 11 times the foreign direct investment (FDI) flows into the country in the same period. Nigeria’s Diaspora remittance inflows amounted to seven times the $3.4Bn foreign loan and received in 2017.”
He who was represented by a director in the DBP, Norberth Emeka Osakwe, said, “We want to bring as much of this extensive capital as possible for investment into the economy of Delta State. On average (in the absence of hard data), we estimate very conservatively that, out of this US$25 billion that comes in to the entire country, about US$1 billion (about N472 billion) accrues to Delta State annually.”
He also noted that the N472 billion compares very favourably with the internally generated revenue (IGR) of Delta State over the past five years: 2015 (N40.80 billion), 2016 (N44.06 billion), 2017 (N51.88 billion), 2018 (N58.44 billion) and 2019.
He listed areas of sectoral concern to include agriculture and agribusiness, oil and gas service covering up, mid and down streams, light manufacturing, electricity and power generation, transport, ICT, property and real estate, and education, among others.
He disclosed that the conference had opened talks with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Diaspora Remittances Unit to straightened inflow of diaspora remittances in the various states and Delta in particular.
While saying that the conference would be an annual event, he said that it would work with the Delta State Government to liven the vision of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa for the betterment of all Deltans.
He added that the conference would not be restricted to a yearly meeting but would work closely with stakeholders such as the Office of the Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to the Governor on International Affair, headed by Genevieve Mordi.
The conference convener and CEO explained that the SSA would be clearing house for Diaspora Deltans to engage with relevant arms of the state government from time to time, adding that a quarterly diaspora investment briefing would be rolled out in due course.
Speaking earlier, the State Commissioner for Information Charles Aniagwu advised Deltans in the Diaspora and those outside the shores of Delta State to help realise the aspiration of the state government to advance the prosperity of Deltans.
While disclosing that the coming of the conference was one of the collaborative efforts of the state government survive on investments from abroad, Aniagwu urged other Deltans in the diaspora, in Nigeria and within the state to join in the efforts of the state government to make the prosperity for all Deltans agenda become more realistic.
Also speaking, the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on International Affairs, Genevieve Mordi, expressed appreciation to the Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, for lending his goodwill and support to the body in launching the inaugural edition of the event.
The highlight of the occasion was the presentation of the endorsement and seal of the Government of Delta State indicating government’s support to the initiative.