By Emma Ujah, Abuja Bureau Chief
Nigeria was one of the top five countries of the world which received about $613 b in remittances, last year, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has said.
Quoting a World Bank report on remittances in 2017, the Governor of the CBN, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, said that Nigerians in the Diaspora and other African nationals sent $72 billion home last year.
In an address at the opening of the workshop on Remittance Household Surveys, in Abuja, Tuesday, the CBN boss who was represented by the Director, Statistics Department of the apex bank, Dr. Mohammed Tumala, said that Nigerians in the Diaspora placed the country on top of the list remittances in the region.
He said, “Remittances inflows contribute substantially to foreign exchange earnings and household finances in most developing economies. Money sent home by migrant workers is among the major financial inflows to developing countries and in some cases, it exceeds international aids and grants.
“According to the World Bank, global remittances have risen gradually over the years to about $613 billion in 2017, of which $72 billion was received by African countries. As a recipient country, Nigeria tops African countries and is also ranked among the top five globally.”
The impressive record of Nigerians in the Diaspora in that regard, notwithstanding, the governor disclosed that Nigeria had taken steps to attract more remittances inflow into the nation, considering the important contributions of remittances to the nation’s economic development.
Mr. Emefiele said that the floating of the $300 million Diaspora Bond by the federal government was one of such deliberate steps to attract Nigerians in the Diaspora to remit funds home.
He added that the introduction of electronic Certificate of Capital Importation to Nigerians in the Diaspora, as well as, Nigeria’s membership of the International Association of Money Transfer Networks were other measures to encourage Nigerians working in other parts of the world to remit part of their earnings back home.
Former statistics on remittances inflows in the country, the CBN boss said, were based on bank records, as well as, staff estimates, which he described as a “methodology with limitations.”
He was optimistic that the Household- based Remittances Survey would provide a more-accurate data for the purpose of calculating funds sent home by Diaspora Nigerians.
Mr. Emefiele said that the apex bank had requested the technical assistance of the African Institute for Remittances and the World Bank to conduct a Remittances Household Survey in Nigeria, as well as, the establishment of a remittances legal framework for the country.
In his remarks, the Deputy Director of Statistics of the CBN, Mr. Emmanuel Olowofeso, said that the bank was working with the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and the National Population Commission (NPC), with a view to conducting a Remittances Household Survey in the country in the first quarter of next year.