Ndubuisi Francis in Abuja
The Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun called for a review of mode of donations from Nigerians in the Diaspora, noting that some of the donations had become avenues for abuse with the attendant revenue leakages.
She stated that presenting consumer items as medical donations had created windows for the importation of expired drugs as well as drugs that are intended for resale.
A statement issued by the media aide to the minister, Mr. Festus Akanbi, said the minister, who spoke at the 2016 Diaspora Conference in Abuja, on Monday, described Diaspora as a key part of the Nigerian community, which has a key role to play at this critical time.
Speaking on donations from Nigerians in the Diaspora, Adeosun said, ‘’My personal appeal would be that, where the items are available in Nigeria and especially those that are manufactured in Nigeria please donate in cash rather than in kind.
‘’Build the safeguards to ensure that your intended objectives are attained rather than incurring the cost of shipping and clearing goods that are readily available in Nigeria and whose purchase will support Nigerian jobs,.” she said.
Adeosun called on Nigerians in the Diaspora to see the current economic realities in the country as a good opportunity for them to participate actively in the ongoing efforts to reposition the nation’s economy.
While advocating a collective action, the minister said, “What Nigeria needs now is economic patriotism that will support this administration’s efforts to reposition the economy.”
‘’We must never become so comfortable abroad that we forget or worse still despise our roots. Rebuilding Nigeria is an important mission for the next generation, who deserve the chance of a Nigeria that provides opportunities for them.”
“Other diaspora communities retain strong links to their motherland and we must do so in order to retain the fabric of our families and our value system,” she said.
On measures being put in place to ensure the safety of remittances to beneficiaries in the country, the minister said improved mechanisms have been put inplace to continue to ensure that funds are reaching their intended recipients. These measures, according to her, included a combination of the introduction of a more flexible exchange rate, which closes the gap between official and parallel market rates on one hand, and the improved technology and e-payments systems as are being advocated for use in the federal government’s recently introduced Social Welfare Programme.
Adeosun described Nigerians in the diaspora as a key part of the Nigerian community, both socially and economically and in the current tough economic clime, she said there is a need for economic patriotism so that we all play our part of rebuilding the nation, saying it starts with a love for the nation, it is followed with honest assessment and supported by action not rhetoric.
Calling on Nigerians in the Diaspora not to lose confidence in their country,Mrs. Adeosun stated, “The most important measure that attracts remittances is theconfidence that you have in Nigeria’s future. The diaspora in other nations havebeen nation builders, it starts with a mind-set that Nigeria is a nation we areproud of to do this we must put aside present frustrations and resist thetemptation to speak negatively but rather proffer suggestions and volunteer to bepart of the solution. To do so we must be humble and respect those on ground inNigeria rather that comes with seemingly ready-made solutions, which may prove tobe impractical.”
She disclosed that all the countries that host the Diaspora community developed over time by a process of continuous improvement driven by a commitment to service.