Concerned with the stagnant state of the nation’s economy marred with inconsistent foreign exchange earnings through oil export, the Association of Bureaux De Change Operators of Nigeria has disclosed that forex remittances from Nigerians in diaspora far exceeded the country’s earnings from crude oil export.
The President of ABCON, Ahaji Aminu Gwadabe who disclosed this to The Nation in an exclusive interview, noted that the total oil earnings of the nation stood at $11billion in 2018, while the total remittance from Nigerians in Diaspora amounted to $25billion in 2018.
Gwadabe said, “Diaspora remittances contribute to this economy more than what the oil sector is yielding. The NNPC inflow in 2018 is about $11 billion while migrant remittances, diaspora remittances is nothing less than $25billion annually into this country’s economy, and this inflow is steady. This diaspora inflow adds to the country’s GDP. It is a cheap source of fund, because it is not to be paid back with interest. It goes directly into the construction of houses, payment of school fees, medicals and a lot of things that are adding value to the weak economy.”
He advocated that favourable migrant policy is urgently needed in Nigeria, saying that the country export people and not oil.
The ABCON President noted that over 40 million Nigerians live outside the country.
Commenting on the role of ABCON in curbing money laundry and illicit access to forex, the association’s Vice President, Mr. Azubuike Igbokwe stated that part of the association obligation is to give information to the regulatory agencies.
He said, “When we noticed that the exchange rates suddenly begins to spiral unnecessarily, we mandated our research department to go into research immediately to find out the reason why the Naira is depreciating further and during the cause of this investigation, the illicit activities of some of these importers that access forex officially at official rates to import items on the list of prohibition.
“The reasons for blocking of account of some importers are that it has been established that they got forex from the official source and at official rate to import the some of the items on the list of the 43 banned items by the government. This means that any forex sourced from CBN or any other sources that the CBN is regulated to fund import of these items.”