Nigeria to suffer drop in diaspora’s $34.8 billion remittance over U.S travel ban, Analysts say

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Analysts are anticipating a slowdown in the amount of money coming into Nigeria from the United States following a decision by the White House restricting citizens of Africa’s largest economy from accessing immigrant visas.

According to report by the PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), has estimated that migrant remittances to Nigeria could grow to $25.5 billion, $29.8billion, and $34.8billion in 2019, 2021, and 2023 respectively.

In its White Paper Series cited by The Guardian yesterday, titled: “Strength from Abroad: The Economic Power of Nigeria’s Diaspora,” PwC expects total remittance flows into the country to grow by almost double in size from $18.37 billion in 2009 to $34.89 billion in 2023.

The World Bank had estimated that global remittances grew by 10 per cent to $689 billion (2017: $633 billion) in 2018, with developing countries receiving 77 per cent or $528 billion of the total inflows. India, China, Mexico, the Philippines and Egypt are among the largest remittance recipients globally, collectively accounting for approximately 36 per cent of total inflows.

But officially-recorded remittances are much lower than the actual remittances that take place through official and unofficial channels. Remittances through informal channels could add at least 50 per cent to the globally recorded flows.
The report revealed that sub-Sahara Africa (SSA), received a small share of the global remittances in 2018, with Nigeria accounting for over a third of regional inflows. Despite representing a small percentage of global flows, official remittances to SSA grew by 10 per cent to $46 billion in 2018.

The World Bank also projects remittances to the region will grow by 4.2 per cent in 2019, due to a moderation in global growth.

PwC noted that it is imperative that countries in the region, especially Nigeria, take advantage of this trend in the course of strategic economic decision-making.

According to the report for four consecutive years, official remittances have exceeded Nigeria’s oil revenues. Since many transactions are unrecorded or take place through informal channels, the actual amount of remittance flows into the country is arguably higher.

Naija247news.com in late January reported that President Trump added Nigeria to five countries to his administration’s travel ban Friday — including ­Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country — in a widely anticipated expansion that Democrats blasted as “clearly discriminatory” against people from predominantly black and Muslim nations.

Citing national security concerns, officials at the Department of Homeland Security and the State Department said Trump’s proclamation would bar most citizens of Nigeria, Eritrea, Myanmar and Kyrgyzstan from coming to work and live in the United States. Two nations, Tanzania and Sudan, would be banned from applying for the visa lottery, which issues up to 50,000 visas a year worldwide to countries with historically low migration to the United States.

The new ban takes effect Feb. 22; travelers who have received visas or are in transit at that time will not be affected. Travelers who have not received visas will be subject to the ban but will be automatically considered for waivers.

Nigeria has been expecting $3 billion in investment funding from citizens living mainly in the U.S. to support the agriculture, power, mining and transportation sectors, a senior presidential adviser said.

The government will support “a diaspora investment fund,” Abike Dabiri-Erewa, President Muhammadu Buhari’s adviser on diaspora affairs, said in an interview in Abuja, the capital. “They’re planning a $3 billion investment in Nigeria. The fund will be driven by Nigerians in America.”

Nigeria is seeking investments to diversify its economy away from oil, which currently accounts for about two-thirds of government revenue and more than 90 percent of foreign income. A sharp drop in crude prices in 2014 and foreign-currency shortages that followed led Nigeria into its first economic contraction in a quarter century in 2016.

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