Diaspora Nigerians should Increase Their Remittances Home; Take Advantage Of Ecobank’s Robust Platforms -Abike Dabiri-Erewa
Lagos, October 26, 2020- Chairman/Chief Executive, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), Mrs. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, said Nigerians in the Diaspora would play a critical role in nation building by increasing their remittances home despite the impact of COVID-19. Dabiri-Erewa who was the Keynote Speaker at the virtual summit on: “Financial Services & Remittance Solutions for Nigerians in Diaspora: Leveraging Ecobank’s Pan-African offering as the Nation Celebrates 60”, noted that “we can only achieve the Nigeria of our dreams with the support of those in the Diaspora. She charged them to take advantage of Ecobank’s robust digital offerings to achieve their goals of sending money home to take care of their families’ education, health and other needs.
Dabiri-Erewa commended Ecobank for organizing the webinar which she said was timely and appropriate, acknowledging that COVID-19 has affected remittances, but a lot could still be done to encourage more inflow, in spite of the pandemic. She challenged Ecobank to lead other Nigerian banks to provide products and services that would encourage Nigerians in the Diaspora to increase their remittances home. The bank, she said should blaze the trail in engaging with Nigerians in the Diaspora, ensuring proper documentation of remittances, as well as providing easier and more affordable cost of remitting money to Nigeria. She regretted that there was currently no proper documentation of remittances inflow into Nigeria from the officially estimated 17 million Nigerians in the Diaspora. She disclosed that the country’s Diaspora Policy was being put together as well as a Diaspora Trust Fund, adding that plans have been concluded to organize a Diaspora Investment Summit soon. According to her, the Commission is also currently working with the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria to set up Diaspora Mortgages for interested Nigerians.
Also speaking, President, Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation (NIDO), New Jersey, Dr. Kazeem Bello, who spoke on Remittance as a means of poverty alleviation, cited Bangladesh as one of the countries that have benefited immensely from remittances of it's nationals in the Diaspora, noting that the inflow has impacted it's economy thereby reducing poverty in the country. He opined that measures should be put in place by the government and private sector to attract youths and retirees in the Diaspora to come home and invest. In the same vein, former Vice Chairman, Board of Trustees Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation Europe (NIDOE), Dr. Bashir Obasekola, said Nigerias in the Diaspora would be encouraged to send money home through the formal channel, if the rate is competitive, low charges, transparent exchange rate and the government creating the right investment environment. He commended Ecobank for the webinar, noting that most Nigerians abroad are now enlightened on the ease and affordable means of sending money home to their families.
Business Manager, Remittance Distribution, Ecobank Nigeria, Mr. Linus Adaba, speaking on revising diaspora export service as a strategic plan for the economy, said that the current threshold of remittance is rather low and needed to be improved upon and properly captured in the formal channels, stressing that remittances serve as major boost to the nation's economy. He noted that Ecobank has tailored poducts and services that can meet the needs of Diaspora Nigerians, adding that the Rapid transfer app is a safe and affordable product that is currently playing maximally in that space.
In his opening speech, Managing Director, Ecobank Nigeria, Patrick Akinwuntan noted that there was growing evidence that Diaspora remittances was impacting positively on the economies of various countries of the world. He put the total annual remittances to Nigeria at over $20 billion which he said, contributes hugely to the country’s foreign exchange earnings. According to him, apart from constant engagement with Nigerians in the Diaspora, the bank is leveraging its digital technology through its Rapidtransfer App and Ecobank mobile App to make it easy for Nigerians abroad to remit funds to their loved ones in the country.
” Our dedicated Rapidtransfer, mobile remittance app is a game changer for the market. It enables Africans wherever they are to easily and instantly send money to bank accounts, mobile wallets and cash collection in – and across – 33 African countries,” “Historically, the cost of sending cross-border remittances in Africa has been far too high. Similarly, the process to send funds has long been inefficient and burdensome, with customers forced to physically go to an agent, and yet still have little or no clarity as to when the money will reach the recipient. “The Rapidtransfer app remittance solution is a quick, easy and reliable digital solution that removes all of these issues. It is indeed a game-changer for Africans with its sustainable and standout affordability.”