Mr Richard Young, Deputy Head of Department, European Union in Nigeria, says more than 5 million Nigerians are living abroad of which half of them are in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Young made the statement on Thursday in Abuja at the unveiling of the National Policy on Labour Migration.
He said that Nigeria and four other countries which include India, China, Philippines and Mexico had been mentioned by the World Bank as top recipients of global remittance in 2012.
“Nigeria is estimated to have received about N21 billion in remittances in 2012 as compared to the N2.3 billion in 2004; being by far the largest recipients of remittance in Sub-Sahara Africa.
“Accordingly, Nigeria is followed by Senegal and Kenya in the Sub-Sahara Africa.
“On the other hand, due to the economic growth following the oil boom in 1975, Nigeria also become an immigration country.
“By 2006, Nigeria was estimated to host 600,000 foreigners mainly from other West Africa counties, ‘’ he said.
Young said that the unveiling of the national policy on labour migration would provide Nigeria a framework to regulate labour migration, adding that it would also enhance dignity of people involved in labour migration.
He added that the policy would also clarify the roles and responsibilities of all stakeholders dealing with the sector.
“The document is a concrete example to combination of synergies, competence, will and professionalism, ’’he said.
The EU under its funded project, Young declared, had assisted various governments to enhance their capacity to manage migration in order to maximise their development potential.
He said the EU welcomed the adoption of the national policy on labour migration in Nigeria and expressed hope on its implementation.
“I am also pleased to know that the IT equipment provided to the ministry led to the establishment and functioning of the National Electronic Exchange (NELEX)
“This is a platform for job seekers to access job opportunities. So far, the platform has facilitated around 150 jobs’ matching for job seekers,’’ he said.
Young also decried lack of appropriate data on labour migration.
He said that data on labour migration was still scanty and could be barely used for any strategic planning.
According to him, obtaining adequate and reliable data on migration relating to flow, rate patterns, profile, impact of labour migration on both countries of origin, among others is difficult.
To overcome the data gaps, utilisation of census figures and survey, Young suggested that administrative data must be put in place in Nigeria.
He urged the National Policy on Labour Migration Implementation Committee to step up efforts to ensure effective implementation of information on migration.