BY BUKOLA IDOWU,Lagos |
The chairman and chief executive officer, Nigeria in Diaspora Commission, (NIDCOM), Mrs. Abike Dabiri-Erewa and the managing director of Ecobank, Mr Patrick Akinwuntan, have stressed the need fr reduced cost of remittances into Nigeria as a way to increase remittances through official channels.
Speaking at a webinar on ‘Financial Services & Remittance Solutions for Nigerians in Diaspora: Leveraging Ecobank’s Pan-African Offering as the Nation Celebrates 60’, Dabiri-Erewa said remittances into the country would be more impactful to the economy if they are made cheaper, easier and faster.
Noting that over 17 million Nigerians in diaspora have been sending money back home to the country to support various needs of the Nigerian economy, she said: “we know that these remittances go into paying things like medical bills, for education and various needs for their families. Last year $25 billion is a very significant amount being churned into the Nigerian economy and it not something to ignore.”
To her, “It is very important to make remittances accessible and affordable to Nigerians in the diaspora, this cannot be over emphasised. It is very important to ensure access to remittances in most African countries were Nigeria shares little or non with them in term of banking services as well as many non-English speaking countries and I want to thank Ecobank it that regard.
“The cost of remittances has been of great concern to us and how come we have the highest cost of remittance with anywhere in the world as we are charging high. So, the cost of remittances is too high and we need to bring it down to encourage Nigerians in the diaspora to remit more back home.”
On his part, CEO of Ecobank, Patrick Akinwuntan said: “Nigerians in Diaspora play a critical role to nation building and you your contribution would go a long way to positioning our country as a leading player global.
“When we look at the records and statistics when you talk about remittances and the flows into Nigeria and with remittances within the range of about $20 billion per annum that should be available to the Nigerian economy, that in itself is a bit over five per cent of the GDP of the country and in a lot of ways is a good competitor to the crude oil revenues which is more talked about in our economy.”