By Lazarus Zakaa, Abuja.
About three thousand participants are to be part of the 3rd Nigeria Diaspora Investment Summit (NDIS) 2020, organized by Nigeria Diaspora Summit Initiative (NDSI) in conjunction with Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM).
The Chairman/CEO, NIDCOM, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, revealed this at the press conference, on Monday in Abuja said the two-day Virtual Summit which kicks off on November 20th, is aimed at creating an avenue for prospective, meaningful and sustainable Diaspora Investment to be relied upon to boost economic growth in Nigeria.
She said the event to be declared open by Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, has the theme, “Post-COVID-19 Economic Resurgence: Targeting Diaspora Investment”, is free for participants but pitchers are to pay N15,000.
Abike also said the Virtual Summit will showcase the investment opportunities and development framework put in place to make investing in Nigeria more attractive to Nigeria Diaspora investors.
According to her, this year’s summit will focus on these key sectors: Healthcare, Education, Agribusiness, Creative, Entertainment & Sports, Telecommunication, ICT/Fintech, Manufacturing and Real Estate.
She said this was the best time to invest in Nigeria, adding that the summit will also address challenges of the two previous summits as well as showcase success stories of those who have dared to return home to invest.
According to her, Nigerians from previous summits have returned to invest in the healthcare, food business, education, ICT and agriculture sector.
The NIDCOM boss expressed happiness with the younger generations that have indicated interest to invest in Nigeria.
According to her, ‘COVID will go away, our lives will be normal again but this is the best time to invest in our country. The good thing is that every state now has focal person on Diaspora matters who will make available investment opportunities to participants.
She said it was at the second investment summit last year, that 50 Nigerians based in Saudi, who has never been to the country, came home for the first time and invested.
Dabire-Erewa described the summit as a knowledge ground for investments, adding that the virtual exhibition will start at 1 pm while the summit proper will start at 2 pm prompt.
She said the summit will also address the issue Nigerians in Ghana and those that have indicated to return home due to harsh operating conditions imposed by Ghanaian authorities.
She said for the 753 Nigerian business owners in Ghana who have indicated an interest in returning home, the ministries of Interior, foreign affairs and industry, trade and investment were already responding to the closure of shops belonging to Nigerians in Ghana, with a view to resolving them.
Dabiri-Erewa said. “753 actually signed the document that says they want to return to Nigeria.
‘So with this request from them, what is going on now is that the three ministers involved will have some engagement with them to see what actually should be the next thing.
‘Now you’ve said you want to come to your country, so there should be no problem about that. They are Nigerians and we are proud of them and glad to return them home.
‘But they must return to something meaningful. Like one of them said to me when they came to NIDCOM office, a lot of them have been there for over 25 years; so just uprooting yourself for not committing any crime – the only crime they’ve committed is that they are very good at their trade, at their jobs.’
On Diaspora voting, Dabire-Erewa said the bill has gone through first and second reading in the National Assembly and has been slated as part of the laws that will be amended.
She said: ‘Diaspora voting is going to happen, is a question of when not if. INEC says it’s ready, President Muhammadu Buhari says he is ready but we are waiting for the National Assembly.’
The Coordinator of the Summit, Dr Badewa Adejugbe- Williams, on her part said, diasporans are aware of what has been going on in the country hence the decision to return home to invest to help the economy.
She said the summit will help expand businesses, increased earnings, and addressing youth restiveness by providing jobs.
She said: ‘A lot of Nigerians in the diaspora are looking for opportunities to invest because investing abroad is now very risky. They have even commended NIDCOM for action taken on previous summits.’