Senate President seeks support of Nigerians in Diaspora

Edwin Akwueh, Abuja

Some professionals with Nigerians in Diaspora looking for opportunities and partnership with government.

Nigerians in Diaspora are advised to support the present government in taking the country out of recession, with their abundant skills and expertise.

Senator Saraki made the appeal during an interactive forum with the Nigerian community in Switzerland.

The Senate President, who led the National Assembly Delegation to the 135th Inter-Parliamentary Union Assembly in Geneva, said he was confident that Nigerians in Diaspora had the skills required to assist the Government in tackling the current recession and for the progressive development through investments.

“The 8th National Assembly is working at passing legislation that will  encourage Nigerians living abroad to return and invest at home…Even I ask for your input in the kind of laws to put in place to make your return profitable,’’ he stated.

The Senate President noted that the session was necessary to apprise the Nigerian Community of the situation of things back home and the existing opportunities for collaboration.

“We find that it has become very necessary to interact and share ideas with Nigerians here, because a lot of people are not well informed of what the responsibilities of the National Assembly are and some of the work we have been doing, both regarding passing new legislation that would improve the lives of Nigerians and to also give them a picture of the economy which today is a topic of great concern to all Nigerians both in and outside the country, particularly those in the Diaspora.

“We want to really send a message across that the recession is a phase that we are passing through and hopefully, I am confident that very soon we will come out of it. But to come out of it, we have to take certain steps…The steps that we hope to take in collaboration with the executive and the prospects ahead of us as a country, both for them in the Diaspora and the role they can play in working together with government to move the country forward,” he explained.

The Senate President insisted that the burden of providing infrastructure must be taken away from the shoulders of government to enable it concentrate its scarce resources in tackling social ends.

Infrastructure deficit
According to him, “Government has to address infrastructure deficit which has built up over the years and also address the issue of education, security and health.

 “By the time you have the limited resources you are not able to do that because funds are not there. You must look for alternative sources of investment and that is where the National Assembly is trying to pass a lot of laws in the infrastructure area. We have passed the Railway Amendment Bill to create the enabling environment for private sector to participate in that sector,’’ the Senate President stressed.

“We are taking on roads to encourage and make it easy for private sector to take that burden away from government, at least on the major trunk “A” roads. We are working on laws also on ports to make room for private sector participation. If you begin to push away some of these infrastructure burdens to the private sector, then of course, government will have more funds to address the social aspects of life.

“Some of the things we are doing in the Senate are not just to go there to just pass any bill. There is a focus and motive behind it and that is to ensure that we try as much as possible to see how we can raise interest and investment in these sectors necessary to increase productivity,” he added.

Over 100 Nigerians, comprising students, businessmen and professionals living in Switzerland attended the event.

Mercy Chukwudiebere