The Chairman/CEO, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission NIDCOM,Hon Dr Abike Dabiri-Erewa, said in the quest of the Federal Government to go far in repositioning of the economy, there was a need to partner with the Nigerians Diaspora in achieving these goals.
Hon Dabiri-Erewa made this call in her opening remarks at the sixth edition of the Nigeria Diaspora Investment Summit NDIS holding in Abuja.
She said President Bola Ahmed Tinubu who has just returned from attending the Saudi-Africa Summit, made efforts to underscore Nigeria’s commitment to attracting more Diaspora Direct Investment, and expand business partnerships,which are strongly reinforced by the administrations ongoing domestic economic reforms.
Dabiri-Erewa disclosed that the Nigeria Diaspora Investment Summit (NDIS) is an initiative that since its inception in 2018, has brought together a diverse network of people,including policy makers and the Diaspora, with the common interest of starting and building sustainable businesses to address some of the teething challenges that confront the development of the Nigerian nation.
“This is why the Summit with this year’s theme being New Vistas, New Aspirations,New Opportunities: The Diaspora and National Development is very appropriate because it creates innovative platforms of partnerships, between the Government and the Diaspora, in attracting investment into local businesses and thus enhancing Diaspora Direct Investment in the country, also facilitating economic
transformation through research and the local development of new energy
solutions, which is expected to boost cross-sectoral investment cooperation.
“A few of the local firms and companies that have benefited through participating at NDIS, include non-profit organisations who benefitted from
donations from US-based grant-maker ROBUR Foundation. These include the
Association of Female Agripreneurs (AFA), Royal School of Educational Therapy Foundation, Vantage Point Academy, The N100-a-Day School, and Godwin Uzoma Ironkwe Foundation.
“Through its partnership with the Africa Chamber of Digital Commerce Inc. USA, a
high-profile international organisation, two MSMEs who pitched successfully at the 2021 summit were invited to participate as part of the USA pavilion at the Dubai Expo on March 18, 2022, where they interacted with Gen Z millionaires and billionaires with a view to attracting them to invest in their ventures. Some state governments like Borno, Nasarawa and Ondo, have keyed into this strategy and are already reaping the rewards. At the 2021 summit, the Ondo State Development and Investment Promotion Agency (ONDIPA) made a strong pitch anchored on its vast opportunities in cocoa production (leading producer in the country); oil palm production (4th largest); oil and gas (5th largest) as well as tourism, and its proximity to Lagos. Returning as Lead Sponsor of the 2022 summit, the Ondo State government maximised the NDIS platform to make a powerful pitch for its port development project, which went on to receive Federal Government approval.Similarly, Nasarawa State, whose Governor is a Diaspora returnee, unveiled a vast array of opportunities coupled with a bouquet of incentives for investors through its vehicle, Nasarawa State Investment and Development Agency (NASIDA). These included opportunities in technology, solid minerals extraction, real estate and
agriculture.Borno State equally presented an attractive basket of opportunities as well as fiscal and non-fiscal incentives. These included agro-allied industries, solid mineral exploration, cattle ranching and livestock breeding, developing of modern
abattoirs and meat processing plants. Others included gum Arabic plantations and processing; development of leather tannery and shoe industries as well as
development of container ports and irrigation schemes at Marte, Alaau Lake and Baga. Some of the incentives on offer included tax relief for research and development, pioneer status, Local Raw Material Utilization; expedited processing of land acquisition applications, especially for export-oriented industries and those
located in Economically Disadvantaged Areas”Dabiri-Erewa stated.
NiDCOM Boss further said NDIS had over the years been expanding its participants’network, showcasing their products and services to target audience such as the Diaspora investors, sponsors and government actors. Besides, it has been providing pro bono coaching and mentoring services to pitchers on how best to sell their business and attract investment. This goes to show that the Summit is not just keen on attracting foreign Direct Investment but ensures that the capacities of local businesses, most especially those that participate in the Summit, are significantly enhanced.
“I assure you that this is an exciting
time to be doing business in Nigeria, and this Summit is a step in making investment and growth a reality, because as Nigerians both at home and in the Diaspora, we should always be conscious of the fact that HOME IS HOME, and no one can develop Nigeria like Nigerians”Dabiri-Erewa added.
In a goodwill message,Ambassador Rabiu Dagari, Director-General, Directorate of Technical Cooperation in Africa, Abuja, Nigeria.said that the Directorate has played active role in organizing every edition of the Nigeria Diaspora Investment Summit.
Ambassador Rabiu Dagari, said the Investment Summit was instituted to uncloak local and off-shore investment potentials to Nigerians and the Nigerian Diaspora Community. He said the intent was to boost economic activities in the Nigeria Economic sector, by leveraging on the Diaspora Businesses,
“if you have not invested in the last 20 years, the best time is NOW. While we want to flaunt the investment opportunities of Nigeria we must also be honest enough to highlight some of the challenges in order for concerned agencies of government to do the needful.
“Here, I will quote a statement by a Nigerian of high international refute, the President of the African Development Bank, Dr Akinwumi Adeisina on one of the challenges we face as a country with regards to export of our goods. He said “According to the sector operators, the cost of exporting 100 tons of cargo in Nigeria is $35,000 compared to $4000 in Ghana. Today, the leading ports for West Africa are in Cote d’Ivore, Ghana, Togo and Benin Republic. All these countries have modernized their port management systems, leaving Nigeria far behind.”On occasions Like this we have a think I innovative ways to deal with the challenges.
“Those who had participated at the previous editions of the Investment Summits would appreciate the fact that a lot had been achieved in terms of the vision and mandate of the Nigerian Diaspora Investment Summit (NDIS) within the Nigerian Economic Sector. This could only be attributed to the resilience and purposeful determination of the organizers.
“This year’s theme: New Vista, New Aspiration, New Vision: the Diaspora and National Development is apt and it could not have come at more auspicious time when the new administration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has launched the Renewed Hope agenda. The President’s recent policies and pronouncements, already applauded worldwide, have further liberalized the investment climate and removed and cap the bottlenecks to investment in flow. The conclusion and ratification of the Africa Continental Free Trade and the centrality of Nigeria to the success of the project is instructive. Nigeria, it must be said is the biggest economy bogsting 2 on the continent with over 200 million consumers with possessing young vibrant population with boundless amount of energy. We have what it takes to attract any willing and genuine investors. Which is why our Nigerians in Diaspora must be the first to latch on to the huge opportunities that have opened up in the country. Nigerians in Diaspora and those at home have a unique opportunity to invest in the country
with other agencies and stakeholders for the socio-economic development of the Country and Africa at large.
“At the (DTCA), we have no doubt that the Summit would achieve more and surpass the expectations of the organisers given the interest shown both internally and externally and the calibre of people in attendance. The DTCA would continue to engage with Nigerians in Diaspora, and others experts in finance, banking, investment, agriculture, businesses, education, science, engineering, technology, Innovations, and indeed all spheres of human endeavour that who are willing to contribute to national development. We will continue to support Diaspora programmes and events expertise for investment opportunities in Nigeria”.
The highlight of the event was launching of the Diaspora Housing Scheme by the Architect Ahmed Dangiwa,Minister of Housing and Urban Development with a facility for Diaspora access up to N50 million naira loan for mortgage with an interest rate of 6.9 per cent, paid over a period of 10 years.
The event also had presence of Minister of Sports Development,Hon Tunji Ojo, Representative of FCT Minister of State, Chairman Senate Committee on Diaspora,Sen Victor Umeh, Chairman House Committee on Diapora,Hon Adamu Tanko Lokoja and other top government functionaries who took turns to commend the organizers of NDIS.