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FG reconstitutes taskforce on expatriate quota administration

by Business News Report

Nigeria has again set up a Taskforce on expatriate quota administration as part of efforts to attract investments, high level manpower development and ensure technology transfer. The taskforce has Hon. Bola Ilori as Chairman and Barr. (Mrs) M. Soyinka-Onijala as Co-chairman. other members are Mrs. Omotese Eva as Director-Legal and Ejike Osibe as Secretary, Olufunsho Alabi, Adesina Akinola, Obianuju Ibugbulem, Ademola Adeyinka and Theresa Ogike. Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, Minister of Interior, while inaugurating the Taskforce in Abuja said the expatriate quota is one of the ways through which innovations and development spread globally. Aregbesola said the team is expected to act fast on areas that would safeguard the country’s economy and reshape it development. He said “expatriate quota is one of the ways through which innovations and development spread globally. It is also a means for regulating social and cultural interaction and avoiding swamping. When it is well followed, it fosters healthy economic, social and cultural relationships among nations. In addition, it provides an effective means for documenting foreigners presence, their activities and ensuring their protection and wellbeing.

“Expatriate quotas are issued to usually foreign and (in some cases) Nigerian firms to enable them bring in high level skilled manpower that are not readily available in the country. The permit is valid for two years at the first instance and renewable cumulatively for a maximum of 10 years, after which the expatriate returns to his or her country. During this period, at least two Nigerians should be groomed to take over from the expatriates. This policy attracts investments in our economy and also brings with it high level manpower development and ensures technology transfer, if the grooming of Nigerian understudies is done in good faith. This is in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s promise to provide 100 million jobs for Nigerians. The opportunity to bring along their own people is an incentive for foreign investment and job creation. Regrettably however, there have been abuses and gross violations of this laudable policy. These abuses include, but not limited to; companies employing expatriates without approval from the Ministry and allegations of companies obtaining fake permits for their expatriates;

“Companies’ half-hearted or non-commitment to grooming Nigerian understudies. Others are companies recruiting fewer than required understudies and giving them non-commensurate remunerations; Illegal transfers of approvals between and among firms and expatriates; Failure to train Nigerian understudies up to the standard of the expatriates they are being groomed to replace; and Expats staying on their jobs for more than 10 years. Where nations are careless or unmindful, it leads to untoward consequences of lopsided and imbalanced relationship, foreign domination and stunted development of the host country’s personnel and economy and ultimately creates a dependency syndrome.

These in turn breed resentment, xenophobia and bad blood between nationals and foreigners. We must avoid these” While admonishing the taskforce to do its work diligently, he charged members to step on toes where necessary and when it becomes unavoidable.  There will be temptations and resistance along the way, but demonstrate the sterner stuff you are made of. Always have at the back of your mind that you have the backing of the government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and especially the Ministry of Interior all the way. “Note also that this is not a witch-hunt and attempts to make foreigners and their companies uncomfortable. You are a government taskforce with the mandate to ensure the laws of the laws are duly followed by foreigners.” The panel was first inaugurated on December 1, 2020, but some development necessitated the expansion of the membership of the taskforce and its relaunch, which took one year without the take off.

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