Zenith Bank MD Advocates Paradigm Shift To Diaspora Direct Investment

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By Favour Nnabugwu


The Group Managing Director/Chief Exec­utive of Zenith Bank, Ebenezer Onyeagwu, has called for increased col­laboration of Nigerians in the diaspora for the nation to achieve its economic growth targets.

He made the call during the 4th edition of the Nigeria Dias­pora Investment Summit 2021 organised by the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiD­COM) on Tuesday.

The hybrid event which held at the State House Ban­quet Hall, Aso Villa, Abuja and virtually had in attendance the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, ministers and governors.

Delivering his remarks on this year’s theme, ‘Partnership and Linkages for Post COVID Economic Growth’, Onyeag­wu noted the aptness of the theme of the summit, as it underscores Nigeria’s need for robust growth following the unprecedented impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which triggered a severe macroeco­nomic shock.

Onyeagwu commended the Federal Government and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for leading with poli­cies that create an enabling environment for investment in Nigeria, such as the ‘Naira 4 Dollar Scheme’, which con­tributed to boosting diaspora remittances by providing in­centives for recipients of in­ternational money transfers.

In his view, this and other policies encourage the senders and recipients to channel in­flows through the official mar­ket, knowing that they will not be shortchanged.

Onyeagwu also passionate­ly highlighted Nigeria’s enor­mous investment potential, especially the nation’s huge market and youthful popu­lation, which is a veritable source of labour and a con­suming population.

Highlighting the need for partnership and collaboration of Nigerians in the diaspora to achieve Nigeria’s econom­ic growth targets, particular­ly during these challenging times, Onyeagwu pointed out that across the globe, the diaspora community plays a critical role in their home country’s economic growth and development.

He noted that Nigeria has enormous potential to attract significant diaspora inflow, most of which is coming in through informal channels. These remittance inflows and investments, which are counter-cyclical, help in ame­liorating foreign exchange challenges as the funds form a significant buffer for the coun­try’s foreign reserves.

Onyeagwu identified the healthcare sector as one area where diaspora investment and intervention are urgently required.

“By leveraging the exper­tise of our diaspora health­care professionals in some of the emerging world-class health facilities in Nigeria, such as Evercare Hospital, Ibom Specialist Hospital and Base University Hospital, we can begin to curb the loss of foreign exchange to medical tourism”, he said.

He, therefore, called on the various associations and groups of Nigerians in the diaspora to pull resources together and identify viable investment opportunities in the homeland.

Whilst commending the untiring efforts of NiDCOM led by Honourable Abike Dabiri-Erewa in supporting the engagement of Nigerians in diaspora in the country’s policies, projects, and develop­ment programmes, Onyeagwu canvassed that the narrative should shift from diaspora re­mittance to Diaspora Direct In­vestment as advocated by Dabi­ri-Erewa and Mr. Emeka Offor, Acting Executive Secretary/ CEO, Nigeria Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC).

Onyeagwu noted that as a socially responsible organisa­tion, Zenith Bank continues to play its part in promoting investment in Nigeria.

In the light of this, the bank is proud of its partnership with the Nigerians in Dias­pora Commission (NiDCOM) and the Nigeria Diaspora In­vestment Summit (NDIS) and remains committed to creat­ing value for Nigerians in the diaspora through its unique products, services and quality service, including mortgage.

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