By Nume Ekeghe
The Chairman/ Chief Executive Officer, Nigeria in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) Mrs. Abike Dabiri-Erewa and the Managing Director/ Regional Executive, Ecobank, Mr. Patrick Akinwuntan have called for a reduction in the cost of remittance into Nigeria.
This, they noted would encourage increased inflows into the country.
Dabiri-Erewa and Akinwuntan made this call during a webinar titled: ‘Financial Services & Remittance Solutions for Nigerians in Diaspora:
Leveraging Ecobank’s Pan-African Offering as the Nation Celebrates 60,’ recently.
The NIDCOM Chairman noted that the remittances into Nigeria from those living abroad would be more impactful on the economy if they are made cheaper, easier and faster.
She also commended Ecobank’s efforts in providing solutions to support diaspora remittances.
She added: “Over 17 million Nigerians in diaspora have been sending money back home to the country to support various needs of the Nigerian economy.
“We know that these remittances go into paying things like medical bills, for education and various needs for their families.
“Last year $25 billion is a very significant amount being churned into the Nigerian economy and it not something to ignore.
“It is very important to make remittances accessible and affordable to Nigerians in the diaspora, this cannot be over emphasised. It is very important to ensure access to remittances in most African countries were Nigeria shares little or none with them in term of banking services as well as many non-English speaking countries and I want to thank Ecobank it that regard.”
Speaking on the high cost, she said: “The cost of remittances has been of great concern to us and how come we have the highest cost of remittance with anywhere in the world as we are charging high.
“So, the cost of remittances is too high and we need to bring it down to encourage Nigerians in the diaspora to remit more back home, “she added.
According to her, there are more informal remittances that are not documented, saying that a reduction in cost would encourage the use of formal channels.
She added: “We are looking forward to whatever Ecobank has in place to encourage and make remittances easier, faster and better.”
On his part, Akinwuntan said: “Nigerians in Diaspora play a critical role to nation building and you your contribution would go a long way to positioning our country as a leading player global.
“When we look at the records and statistics when you talk about remittances and the flows into Nigeria and with remittances within the range of about $20 billion per annum that should be available to the Nigerian economy, that in itself is a bit over 5 per cent of the GDP of the country and in a lot of ways is a good competitor to the crude oil revenues which is more talked about in our economy.
“For us, as Ecobank, we are a pan-African institution set up to foster the economic development and integration of our continent and today Ecobank is the leading Pan-African bank.”
“Ecobank Nigeria is particularly pleased to work closely with the Nigeria Diaspora Commission who is ably lead by Hon Abike Dabiri-Erewa.”
“Every Nigerian in the diaspora will be able to use our digital platforms and unique financial products and services to transfer funds for various purposes in Nigeria be it transacting, investing or supporting any charitable cause that is being embarked upon in Nigeria.”