Deltans in Diaspora Pledge to Boost Local Economy

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Omon-Julius Onabu in Asaba

Nigerian Citizens from Delta State living abroad have vowed to mobilize financial resources in form of foreign direct investment (FDI) to the state to complement the developmental efforts of the state government.
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Delta Business Platform and Covener, Delta State Diaspora Business Conference, Dr Jude Osakwe, stated this while briefing newsmen yesterday in Asaba.

Osakwe, who was represented by a director in the Delta Diaspora Platform, Mr Norbert Osakwe, said that Delta State Diaspora Business Conference was an annual event and a collaborative initiative with the Delta State Government aimed at complementing efforts of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa in line with his ‘Greater Delta’ agenda towards improving livelihoods across the state.

He said that the objective of Diaspora business forum was “to create better organized channels for Deltans abroad to invest in the economy of Delta State”, in terms of capital, intellectual resources, capacity and networks.
He said that they were committed to repositioning the Delta State Innovation Hub as a vehicle to tap into the funds that global tech venture capital (VC) firms were investing in Nigeria annually.
Osakwe lamented the fact that “of the 38 Nigerian start-ups that received this external funding of $747 million in 2019, none was based in Delta State”.

He said: “In 2018, Nigerians in the Diaspora remitted US$25 billion home, representing 6.1% of the country’s GDP. This figure translates to 83% of the Federal Government budget in 2018, and 11 times the foreign direct investment (FDI) flows into the country in the same period.

“Nigeria’s Diaspora remittance inflows amounted to seven times the US$3.4 billion foreign aid received in 2017. We want to bring as much of this extensive capital as possible for investment into the economy of Delta State.
“On average, we estimate very conservatively that, out of this US$25 billion that comes into the entire country, about US$1billion (about N472 billion) accrues to Delta State annually.

“This figure compares very favourably with the internally generated revenue (IGR) of Delta State over the past five years: 2015 (N40.80 billion), 2016 (N44.06), 2017 (51.88 billion), 2018 (58.44 billion) and 2019 (N64.68 billion).”
The group said that Diaspora Deltans “promote key sectors of Delta State economy” in several areas including agriculture and agribusiness, upstream and downstream of oil and gas industry, light manufacturing, electricity and power generation, maritime and aviation as well as education and real estate.

At the briefing was the Delta State Commissioner for Information, Mr Charles Aniagwu, who enumerated the benefits of the state government’s overseas economic and industrial outreaches to the state job creation programmes, saying it was time the quiet economic contribution of Deltans abroad was put in public domain.