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With $168bn Remittance, Tinubu Banks On Nigerians Abroad For Delivery Of Renewed Hope Agenda — VP Shettima

Vice President Kashim Shettima has hailed Nigerians in the diaspora as major partners in President Bola Tinubu’s Renewed Hope Agenda for national development.

Speaking at a high-level dialogue in Abuja to highlight the gains of Tinubu’s one year in office, Shettima revealed that between 2015 and 2022, the World Bank reported remittances of $168.3bn from Nigerians living abroad.

Shettima further outlined that the Tinubu administration’s roadmap anchored on a “4-D” strategy is focused on democracy, development, demographics, and the diaspora.

The transformational approach, he said, aligns Nigeria’s global engagement with domestic priorities under the Renewed Hope Agenda.

According to him, a key initiative of the Tinubu administration is the recently announced $10bn Diaspora Investment Fund earmarked to strengthen ties with the diaspora community while boosting foreign exchange inflows to support national development plans.

“The Foreign Policy doctrine of Mr President which we call the Tinubu doctrine is ably championed by our brother, the Minister of Foreign Affairs. It’s a 4-D diplomacy strategy with four core pillars being Democracy, Development, demography and the Diaspora, that signals a transformational approach as well as a strategic shift towards more intentional, dynamic and value-driven diplomacy. This approach emphasises democratic values, powers the nation’s demographic potential, and prioritises economic development that engages with the diaspora community. These foreign policy interests and objectives align Nigeria’s global engagement with its national interests, emphasising both domestic and international priorities as articulated in the renewed hope agenda.

“The volume of remittances from our brothers and sisters in the diaspora has made them our prime ambassadors and a pillar of the diplomatic agenda promoted by Mr. President. Between 2015 and 2022, the World Bank has revealed that Nigerians in the diaspora remitted $168.3 billion to Nigeria. Therefore it is worthy of not that Nigerians in the diaspora contribute more to our economy, even more than overseas development assistance from multilateral and bilateral forces.

This is further evidenced by the recently announced $10 billion diaspora fund which is a multi-sectoral investment initiative set to be launched soon and expected to strengthen ties with our diaspora community while boosting forex inflows to support our national development plans. While our citizens abroad make their breakthroughs, there are 20,000 Nigerian doctors in the United States alone. We are going to recommit to building a viable economic environment for their investments back home, along with international businesses and other corporate entities. Nigerian community, the Nigerian American community is the most upwardly mobile immigrant community in the United States,” he said.

Shettima also highlighted other government efforts to create an enabling environment for diaspora investments and foreign direct investment. This includes a N75 billion manufacturing sector revitalisation initiative and the Renewed Hope Infrastructure Development Fund.

He said, “For the sake of our nation, we have in place a Renewed Hope Infrastructure Development Fund to further facilitate effective infrastructure development across the key areas of our economy. For the sake of our future, we are adjusting to the times, and that explains the adoption of CNG buses, which we’re prepared to actualize in our drive for a nation that offers more benign alternative transformation channels for the people and keeps to its proven commitments to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. It is a transitional point. Eventually, we’re all going to go clean. But I believe the CNG initiative is a beautiful step in the right direction.

“We know, yes, we know that the reality we desire and the future will produce cannot be constructed unless we guarantee the security of lives and properties for attracting foreign direct investment. And Mr. President has been at the forefront of regional and national interventions to guarantee the safety of each of us. There is no way to inspire faith in the national agenda by local communities and international partners than this bold declaration of intent and demonstrations of Practical Action. I invite our international friends and partners to key into the new Nigeria project as we all strive for a lasting balance in this post-COVID-19 pandemic boat because neither of us can function optimally in isolation.”

Shettima further spoke about President Tinubu’s security interventions to safeguard lives and property, which he identified as a prerequisite for attracting investment. Additionally, he mentioned the forthcoming I-DICE initiative which has been allocated $618m to unlock youth potential in the digital economy.

“We are a young nation and according to Korn Ferry, by 2025 there will be a 65 million global talent deficit. Nigeria is in a unique position to take advantage of these opportunities,” Shettima remarked.

“In a couple of days, the President will launch the I-DICE initiative that will unlock the full potential in the digital space. $618 million of investment in our youth. I used to refer to Nigeria as a young nation. Africa is a young continent. It was amazing when the UNDP representative at a function about two weeks ago, quoted that the average age of the Nigerian nation is 16.9. We are a young nation and according to Korn Ferry, a global consultancy firm, by 2025, there will be 65 million global talent deficits. The United States, Russia and Brazil will suffer from 60 million in deficits. Nigeria is in a unique position to take advantage of these opportunities.

“India is expected to generate $100 billion from global outsourcing alone this year and how did we ever earn from oil proceeds? And I want to quote the minister of budget and national planning. He made this revelation a few years back when he was the governor of Kebbi State, the highest we have ever earned from oil proceeds was $35 million in 2011 when President Goodluck Jonathan was the head of state. Let’s work together, and improve on the quality of governance. Let’s be our brother’s keeper [and] address the issue of sustainable economic growth.”

The vice president urged international partners to support the new Nigeria project, emphasising that practical collaboration is vital in the post-COVID-19 era for balanced economic growth and development.

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