As part of efforts to attract investment, high level manpower development and ensure technology transfer, the Federal Government has inaugurated a Taskforce on expatriate quota administration.
The Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, while inaugurating the Taskforce in Abuja, said that expatriate quota is one of the ways through which innovations and developments spread globally.
Aregbesola said that the team is expected to act fast on areas that would safeguard the country’s economy and reshape its development.
Explaining further, Aregbesola said that expatriate quota being a global best practice, is one of the means through which countries protect their economies and stimulate development through healthy interactions with other nations.
“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 their work diligently, he charged them 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 developments necessitated the expansion of the membership of the taskforce and its relaunch, which took one year without the take off.
The membership of the taskforce includes: Hon. Bola Ilori as Chairman, Barr. (Mrs) M. Soyinka-Onijala as Co-chairman, Mrs. Omotese Eva as Director-Legal and Ejike Osibe as Secretary.
Others include; Olufunsho Alabi, Adesina Akinola, Obianuju Ibugbulem, Ademola Adeyinka and Theresa Ogike.