Presidency, NASS to partner on Diaspora policy
The Presidency is set to partner the National Assembly (NASS), on a new policy to carter for the needs and inclusiveness of Nigerians in the Diaspora.
Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to the President on Diaspora and Foreign Relations Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa, disclosed this when she led a delegation to visit the Chairman, Senate Committee on Diaspora, Senator Rose Oko in Abuja on Tuesday.
She said the potentials of Nigerians in the diaspora could not be effectively harnessed without a Diaspora policy and a commission to carter for Nigerians in the Diaspora.
According to her, “Nigeria does not have Diaspora policy, so the first thing we would be doing is crafting a Diaspora policy. We will be working with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the House and Senate Committee on Diaspora, to craft this policy which would be like a thrust for every other thing that we are going to do,” adding that work on that will start very soon.
Dabir-Erewa reiterated that, “Without the policy, we cannot do anything, and of course the Diaspora Commission Bill is also very critical,” she said.
She recalled that the Bill to create a Diaspora Commission was passed by the 7th Assembly, but was not assented to and therefore urged the 8th National Assembly to revisit the bill.
“There is no better time to have Nigerians in Diaspora, collaborating to get the best for Nigeria than now.
The issue of Diaspora voting is also important, but that would depend on the National Assembly, if they decide to amend the Constitution to make this possible,” she added.
She restated that the economic survival of Nigeria could depend a lot on the Nigerians in the Diaspora, noting that if they were able to remit $21 billion in 2014, they can be able to do more.
The SSA added that, “President Buhari is willing, which is why for the first time, he has an SSA on Diaspora,” stressing that there are committees in the Senate and the House for this purpose.
Also due to its importance, she said there are “26 countries have formed ministries for the Diaspora, we should not let other countries beat us to it, because ours is part of the largest population,” she said.