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90% of $20bn 2023 Diaspora remittances did not end up in Nigeria – Oyedele

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The Chairman, Presidential Committee on Fiscal Policy and Tax Reforms,Taiwo Oyedele, says findings have shown that about $18 billion, representing 90 per cent of the estimated $20 billion Nigeria’s diaspora remittances in 2023 did not end up in the country.

The World Bank had estimated that diaspora remittances to Nigeria in 2023 was $20 billion.

Speaking in a panel discussion at the 2024 Economic Outlook and Budget Analysis organised by the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, LCCI, Oyedele alleged that more than 90 per cent of the remittances were externalized.

He explained that in their interactions with multinationals, rating agencies and other stakeholders, many of them stated that exchange rate difficulty is more than 50 per cent of all the challenges in Nigeria combined, as far as they are concerned, saying that it is a major issue that the country has to address.

According to him, “And we thought it is going to be an area where we can easily demonstrate how the monetary and fiscal policies can work together. So, to that extent, we have done a sensible amount of work on the fiscal side. And we have been speaking to the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN. The ultimate objective being that, first and foremost, we think that the biggest problem we have is the fact that we have divergence in exchange rates.”

He said they had spoken to loads of Nigerians almost everywhere, in the United States, the United Kingdom, and they told them how they send remittance, saying that they used apps which use parallel market rates and pay the Naira equivalent in Nigeria without bringing the dollars

Mr Gabriel Idahosa, LCCI President, earlier in his welcome address, explained that policy reforms by the government, especially the removal of fuel subsidies and floating of the exchange rate, are expected to boost fiscal revenue and contribute moderately to the improvement of the country’s growth this year.

The Director General, Budget Office, Ben Akabueze, also stated that one of the challenges facing the nation is that of low public revenue against a growing population, adding that Nigeria has had over three decades of deficit budget.

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