The Federal Government has revealed its plans to come up with a new Diaspora policy for Nigerians within the next three weeks.
Geoffrey Onyeama, Minister for Foreign Affairs, made this known at a budget defence of the Nigeria Diaspora Commission before the House of Representatives Committee on Diaspora Matters.
According to the Minister’s statement as relayed by Zubairu Dada, Minister of State, ‘I want to assure you that in three weeks’ time, the Federal government will come out with a Diaspora Policy.’
The Minister, while recounting the performance of the 2020 budget which has an estimate of N247 million apportioned to the commission, frowned at the meagre allocation of N143 million to the Commission in the 2021 budget estimate.
He stressed that rather than a boost in the Commission’s personal budget for 2021, it was reduced from N247 million to N143, 795, 80 million which had been submitted to the Budget Office of the Federation.
The Minister in his statement to the committee said that, ‘We made a proposal of over N247m, but from the observation, it will appear there was a mistake somewhere down the line. we are not aware of any retrenchment at Nidcom. We can’t seem to explain how this figure came about.’
The Minister also added that the commission wasn’t given any allocation for both international and local travels, even though the Commission has a lot of work that would require traveling.
Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Chairman of the Commission, unveiled to the lawmakers that, ‘There is no provision for office, in the budget; even with the initial budget (of 2020), there was none.’
In response to this, Hon. Tolulope Akande-Sadipe, Chairman of the Diaspora Committee, assured the Commission of an increase in their 2021 budget even above their initial proposal so as to enable the agency to employ more hands for efficiency.