Nigeria’s Finance Minister, Kemi Adeosun, has recently called on Nigerians in the Diaspora to see the current economic realities in the country as good opportunities for them to participate actively in the ongoing efforts to reposition the nation’s economy.
The Minister, who spoke at the 2016 Diaspora Conference in Abuja, described Diaspora as a key part of the Nigerian Community, which has a key role to play at this critical time. Stressing the need for a collective action, the Minister said, “What Nigeria needs now is Economic Patriotism that will support this administration’s efforts to reposition the economy.”
She said, “We must never become so comfortable abroad that we forget or worse still despise our roots. Rebuilding Nigeria is an important mission for the next generation, who deserve the chance of a Nigeria that provides opportunities for them.”
She pointed out that the current administration is rebuilding Nigeria based on fundamental values that shaped the childhood of many people but which were sadly abandoned by a few in pursuit of aggrandisement wealth that they can never spend. Those fundamental values, according to her, include hard work, enterprise, honesty, and self-reliance.
Calling for understanding and patience on the part of the citizens, Adeosun explained that fundamental shifts need time to be developed properly with adequate windows for consultation before they can be successfully implemented.
The Minister noted that Nigeria has in the past spent like a stereotypical oil economy, which has lots of oil and a low population. She said in reality we have some oil but a very large population. “Our 2.2 M bpd must be shared by 170M of us whereas Kuwait has 2.9M barrels and 4.1 M people. So we simply cannot afford to operate as if oil was unlimited. That adjustment should have happened many decades ago and had it been done we would not be experiencing our current challenges.”
She also sought a review of mode of donations from Nigerians in the Diaspora, noting that some of the donations have become avenues for abuse, which has resulted in revenue leakage.
She said, “Donating consumer items under the medical donations has created windows for the importation of expired drugs as well as drugs that are intended for resale. My personal appeal would be that, where the items are available in Nigeria and especially those that are manufactured in Nigeria please donate in cash rather than in kind. Build the safeguards to ensure that your intended objectives are attained rather than incurring the cost of shipping and clearing goods that are readily available in Nigeria and whose purchase will support Nigerian jobs.”
Mrs. Adeosun described Nigeria diaspora as a key part of the Nigerian community both socially and economically and in the current tough economic clime, she said there is a need for economic patriotism so that we all play our part of rebuilding the nation, saying it starts with a love for the nation, it is followed with honest assessment and supported by action not rhetoric.
She reiterated her calls for confidence in the improving quality of Nigerian made goods. She urged Nigerians to patronise locally made goods wherever they find them. “As part of our diversification, we will be exporting more of your staple foods and we are working to retool our customs, quarantine and other services to focus on export. We are the largest component of African diaspora, so where available look for and purchase Nigerian made goods.”
She disclosed that all the countries that host the Diaspora community developed over time by a process of continuous improvement driven by a commitment to service. President Muhammadu Buhari, according to her, is totally committed to this nation and we must therefore recognise the tough situation we have inherited and support efforts that will rebuild our economy. She however explained “Our rebuilding will not be based on the template of the past where we had GDP growth without development, rather we will pursue an inclusive growth based on our traditional values of hard work, honesty and fair play.