Panafrican News Agency

Nigeria to raise US$ 2b for development through citizens in Diaspora

Abuja, Nigeria (PANA) - The Nigerian government is planning to raise funds for the development of infrastructure through an inflow of US$ 2 billion via an open-ended instrument issued for sale to Nigerians in Diaspora.

Minister of Trade and Investments Olusegun Aganga, said in Abuja at the fifth National Diaspora Conference, organised by the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, with the theme: "Nigeria’s Transformation Agenda: The Diaspora Perspective" that the fund was to be managed by the private sector and was expected to provide holders’ periodic performance report aimed at boosting its tradeability and transparency.

While urging Nigerians in Diaspora to utilize the investment opportunity from the fund, Aganga said already, the African Development Bank (AfDB) had carried out research on this.

Explaining how the fund will work, he noted that the fund would be a formal instrument that would be protected by local financial regulations and would enjoy the reliability those rules offer.

According to him, “the possibility of the fund being listed in international markets is also being explored. The proceeds from the fund will be invested in flagship infrastructure projects in the country as identified in the Transformation Agenda such as power, housing, roads, airports and other transport infrastructure.”

Citing the case of China and India which have grown their economies with such funds, the minister stated that the Chinese model had shown that huge inflows of remittances of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) were better inflows in form of remittance, while same could be deployed to projects that would lead to wealth and employment generation.

Quoting a World Bank report that over US$ 18.2 billion was remitted into Nigeria in 2009, Aganga stressed that government was now targeting untapped pool resources the Diaspora holds as a goal of putting a formal structure around these relationships that will contribute positively to the Transformation Agenda of the President.

He said: “our Diaspora members can concentrate resources, establish large research institutions to help in capacity building through transfer of knowledge.”

Vice President Namadi Sambo, opening the forum, said “as a group, the Diaspora constitutes a force for positive change, which should be maximally harnessed for the development of our homeland,” adding that “we recognise you as important stakeholders in the Nigerian project.”

Sambo, who said President Goodluck Jonathan placed high premium on the Diaspora, disclosed: “we plan to expand our developmental constituency so as to adequately create a more significant role for the Diaspora.”

He used the occasion to urge the Diaspora to unite so that they could effectively contribute to the administration’s transformation agenda, saying “this is the only way we can sustain your engagement and you maintain your relevance and credibility."
-0- PANA MON/BOS 25July2011