The National Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) has advised Nigerians in diaspora to come home and invest.
The National President of NACCIMA, Chief Alaba Lawson, made the call in New York at the NACCIMA-Diaspora engagement with Nigerian professionals, organisations, and investors based in the U.S.
She told the group that a lot of things had changed in Nigeria and has made investment in the country more attractive.
Lawson said agriculture was now taking its leading role in Nigeria adding, the country needs to feed itself instead of using its hard-earned foreign exchange to import foods that it can produce in our country.
On mining, the NACCIMA leader said: “There is no Local Government in Nigeria that has not got its mineral deposit; we are so blessed.
“So we are looking at mining as a very important sector that will replace the oil sector in our country, with good policies from the government”.
Lawson said the Nigerian mining sector was being repositioned adding, we are looking at the policies from the government so as to make it a sector one can invest and know that the investment is safe.
She said the mining roadmap focuses on seven strategic minerals – iron ore, gold, bitumen, coal, limestone, lead and zinc, gold and barite.
The NACCIMA president said the roadmap was conceived to raise the contributions of mining to gross domestic product from 0.3 per cent to about four per cent or 27 billion dollars by 2025.
According to her, this is an area the Nigerian Diaspora can look into and invest.
“Being the voice of the Nigerian business, we advocate conducive and enabling environment for private sector to be able to successfully operate, thrive and serve as the engine of economic growth and development in our country.
“This position has given us a unique opportunity to truly be the voice of business and defender of the interest of the private sector,” she said.
Lawson, who is the first female president of NACCIMA, said the private sector was now widely acknowledged as the driver of inclusive growth in all major areas of the economy.
“We are all aware of the growth and development of the Nigerian diaspora. We are aware of you being in the process of having a Nigerian bank.
“One cannot underestimate the volume of money being moved by the Nigerians in the diaspora. It is well known that our diaspora is composed of high-end and skilled professionals.
“And is in addition, diaspora remittances have hit about $30 billion and this is the real data that we have – that in a year, the $30 billion is the formal one that you can track.
“The informal ones that people give hand-to-hand to send to relatives are not included. So you can see that this is a veritable injection of funds into our economy.
“And at NACCIMA, we are closely following this trajectory of the Nigerian diaspora as a credible partner in the development of our country,” she said.
Some of the Nigerian diasporas and their investment partners raised issues about getting honest partners in Nigeria, which Lawson said the chamber has a Diaspora desk to deal with that.
NACCIMA Director-General, Amb. Ayoola Olukanni, said NACCIMA has database of genuine businesses that foreign investors could partner with and their investments would be secured.
Olukanni said: “So we are calling on you to join us at NACCIMA to make some contributions in our quest to turn Nigeria into a country of our dream.
“Whether we like it or not and wherever we are, home is the best and home is home. This is our clarion call that we should all join hands to promote our nation and build it into our dream”.
Earlier, the Consul, Economic and Investment at the Nigerian Consulate, New York, Mr Nicholas Ellas, said the engagement was designed to connect with the Nigerian professionals, groups and associations outside the shores of the country.
President, Port Harcourt Chamber of Commerce, Dr Emi Membere-Otaji, said the major purpose of the NACCIMA-Diaspora engagement was to attract the diasporas’ investment for the development of the Homeland.
The NACCIMA delegation also had fruitful engagements with the UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed and the UN Women.