‘Diaspora remittance exceeds 2018 oil, gas earnings’ - THE NATION
The Chief Executive Officer of Seplat Petroleum Development Company Plc, Mr. Austin Avuru, has said diaspora remittances by Nigerians in 2018 surpassed earnings from oil and gas last year.
Avuru spoke at the Nigerian-American Multicultural Council (NAMC) 8th Annual gala night held in Houston, Texas, where he bagged the Honorary Gala Chair and Lifetime Achievement Awardee.
According to him, Nigerians in diaspora in 2017 had remitted S22 billion, making it the highest in sub-Saharan Africa followed by Senegal and Ghana with $2.2 billion each in the same year. Currently, the country is in the top five nations in global remittances.
Also, the Chief Economist at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Nigeria, Prof Andrew Nevin, had said Nigerian citizens living outside the country remitted an estimated inflow of $25 billion last year, saying they remained Nigeria’s biggest export.
Quoting the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), Avuru said the Bureau had two weeks ago disclosed in its report that for the full year 2018, diaspora remittances for the first time exceeded Federal Government’s earnings from oil and gas sector.
The PwC’s Chief Economist, in a report titled: Nigeria Economic Outlook: Top 10 Themes For 2019, noted that remittances to Nigeria represent 6.1 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and translate to 83 per cent of the Federal Government’s budget of last year.
On the other hand, statistics from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), indicated that Nigeria earned N5.54 trillion from the petroleum industry in 2018, amounting to 60.88 per cent of the N9.1 trillion budget for the 2018 fiscal year and 63.45 per cent of the N8.73 trillion proposed budget for 2019.
The Seplat chief while addressing Nigerian professionals in Houston, admonished them to use their wealth of knowledge and wide contact to help develop the country’s economy.
He noted that the remittance figure for last year is an indication that Nigerians in diaspora have not forgotten their heritage in all they do outside the shores of the country.
He said: “You may not really know the value you are contributing to the economy even while you are here. But your remittances to Nigeria in no small measure are contributing to the country’s growth.
“For me, if you are emphasising the bridge between Nigeria and America, it is about enterprise and value creation. It is pleasing to note that we Nigerians are no longer invitees to the banquet but co-organisers and participants in the banquet.
“From the young men and women to the old ones, the position that you hold in multinational organisations and the entrepreneurs that have risen to height, both here and back in Nigeria attest to your tenacity.
“And even when you recollect that all of these successes are personal efforts and not as a result of any government backing or push, that means that one day, when we finally get our governance right, things will take a turn for the best.”
He said the paradigm shift will come from all of those in the diaspora based on the experience and exposure that they have.
“When finally we have that level of governance that will direct our noble cause as we say in the second stanza of our National Anthem, then you can imagine how far we will go as entrepreneurs and business leaders if we do this much in spite of the poor governance.
“We in Seplat say you are welcome. We expect you to rise to the very top and create value in your various endeavours, and as you do so, never forget your heritage. Please do come back home to help fix the economy,” he said.