Nigerians in diaspora in the last one year remitted home the sum of $21 billion, Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Babachir David Lawal, said on Wednesday.
He made the disclosure in Abuja during a press briefing to mark the 2016 Diaspora Day.
Lawal, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Political Affairs, Office of the SGF, Olakunle Bamgbose, also said the Federal Government is partnering with Nigerians in Diaspora on meeting the needs of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the country.
To this end, he said government has approved waivers for drugs, roofing sheets and other items imported by Nigerians in Diaspora to aid youth empowerment.
He said, “This year’s conference will be a complete departure from our past experiences, when our nationals come home only to highlight the challenges that confront our nation. The government and citizens of Nigeria at home are not ignorant of our challenges as a nation. What our nation requires are solutions to specific problems.
“This year’s conference, in essence, will focus on obtaining firm commitments from Nigerians in the Diaspora, directed at solving some of our national challenges. This administration is ready to partner with Nigerians in Diaspora on how they can assist Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the Northeast; on how through medical interventions they can improve healthcare delivery across the country and on how they can assist government in youth empowerment and employment generation.
“I am happy to confirm that already, we have received commitments from Nigerians in line with the new thinking. We intend to obtain more commitments during the conference and as follow-up to ensure that such commitments are redeemed”.
According to the SGF, this year’s conference will be declared open by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, while the Ministers of Finance and Foreign Affairs will make presentations amongst other speakers.
“Let me assure you that the Federal Government will continue to partner with our compatriots outside the country. This is because we appreciate the invaluable contributions they continue to make towards the growth and development of the nation. This partnership is more critical today that we pursue a total national rebirth”, Mr. Lawal said.