Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Chairman/CEO, Diaspora Commission, says the commission is putting a team in place to work out modalities for the establishment of Diaspora Trust Fund. Dabiri-Erewa, who fielded questions from State House Correspondents after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari, said the commission was in the process of planning and engaging Nigerians in the Diaspora as to how it can be done.
“We are planning the Nigerian Diaspora Trust Fund because Nigerians in the Diaspora want to invest in their country and they want to contribute. So, the Diaspora Trust Fund will be coming up in this year and a lot of other engagements and activities. “A few countries, like Ethiopia, have a Diaspora Investment Fund. Nigeria should not be an exception. We are working at it. We are hoping we can get everything set in the first quarter of this year,” she added.
On the remittances from Nigerians in Diaspora, she said, “For 2019, we are dealing with about $25 billion as remittances from Nigerians in the Diaspora. We hoping it could get better. There are even areas that are not even captured. The foremost remittances are not even captured; the $500 to your brothers, to your sisters.
“Beyond remittances, there are a lot more that Nigerians in the Diaspora will do for their country. We hope it gets better, we hope that Nigerians in the Diaspora continue to help in resuscitating the Nigerian economy.” Dabiri-Erewa, who said the Nigerians in Diaspora Investment Summit was very successful, added that the commission would not abandon the returnees from South Africa.
“As for the returnees from South Africa, like we said earlier, we have not abandoned them and we’ll not abandon them. In January this year, we’ll be meeting with them again and we are working with SMEDAN and other agencies to see what more can be done for those returnees.
‘And we are appealing to states. I think about three states that have not reached out to returnees to please do so. They are not many and I don’t think it’s a difficult thing to do,” she added. She said the commission had started the process of having a Diaspora database to know exactly the number of Nigerians in Diaspora.