The Governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi has said the indigenes of the state resident out of the country are important to the realisation of the development agenda of his administration.
Dr Fayemi who spoke while declaring open the Southwest Summit of Diaspora Focal Point Officers held in Ado Ekiti on Monday explained that his administration has taken steps to ensure more contribution from Ekiti in Diaspora to the development of their homeland.
Represented by the Deputy Governor, Otunba Bisi Egbeyemi, the governor disclosed that Ekiti need not only money from its successful indigenes in Diaspora but also need their connections, competencies, equipment and goodwill to complement government efforts.
The Summit was attended by the Chairman/Chief Executive Officer, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, members of the Senate and House of Representatives Committees on Diaspora Affairs and Focal Point Officers in the six Southwest States.
The Governor explained that his administration has created Diaspora Forum, Ekiti Diaspora Chamber of Commerce and Ekiti Diaspora Business Register to leverage on resources from successful indigenes abroad to give the state a lift in all sectors.
He stressed that Nigeria and states have continued to mobilise the private sector, development partners and philanthropists to join hands with governments to uplift the standard of living of the people.
Fayemi disclosed that the Ekiti in Diaspora Homecoming hosted in 2019 has started yielding dividends in terms of investment and technical support in the key sectors of the state
He said: “There is the need to secure the support of our indigenes across the length and breadth of the globe. These are our people in Diaspora. They have made their marks in their various countries of residence.
“This is why we are here today to consider ways and means of harnessing Diaspora Remittances for our development.
“Let me use this occasion to make a clarion call to Ekitis and our Southwest people in Diaspora to join hands with our respective state governments in bringing about the needed development.”
NIDCOM boss, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, who was represented by Mr. Yusuf Basi, said the agency has been working on step towards finalising the establishment of Nigerian Diaspora Investment Trust Fund in an effort to increase the proportion of remittances by Nigerians in Diaspora.
She also disclosed that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has recently developed a Diaspora Home Remittance Policy in order to increase the volume of foreign currency remittances into Nigeria through official channels.
Dabiri-Erewa suggested that the Summit should explore the real contributions of the Nigerians in Diaspora as a compliment to government in development in terms of home remittances through skills and talent transfer, industry and infrastructure development, investments and charity missions and volunteerism.
“This can only happen through strategies of engaging with them, enable them by creating an enabling environment (provide incentives for them to participate e.g. land, infrastructure, tax breaks etc.
“May I therefore encourage that all State Diaspora Focal Point Officers to key into this by creating opportunities for Nigerians in Diaspora to complement governmental efforts in development by maximising their contributions,” Dabiri-Erewa said.