The Federal Government has inaugurated a 9-man Special Ministerial Task Force on Monitoring and Enforcement of Nigerian Expatriate Business Permit and Expatriate Quota Administration in the country.
The Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola who inaugurated the task force today in his office in Abuja said that, the Task Force became necessary because there has been abuses and gross violations of the expatriate quota policy by foreign investors.
In a speech titled “TOWARDS A NEW ORDER IN EXPATRIATE BUSINESS PERMIT AND QUOTA ADMINISTRATION”, Aregbesola said that the Expatriate Quota policy was aimed at encouraging foreign investors to invest in our economy and also bring with it high level manpower development and ensure technology transfer in the country, if the grooming of Nigerian understudies is done in good faith.
“What we are gathered here to do resonates with the core mandate of this Ministry in two ways. The first is economic development. 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 expatriate.
This policy attracts investments in our economy and also bring with it high level manpower development and ensures technology transfer, if the grooming of Nigerian understudies was done in good faith. This is in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s promise to provide 100 million jobs for Nigerians.
The economic boost this will generate will lead to wealth creation, national self-reliance and will provide jobs for the youths. This is a critical factor to the second point – boosting national security. It has been well established in virtually all defence and development studies that a linear relationship exists between economic wellbeing and youth engagement on one side and national security on the other”, he said.
Aregbesola stated further that since he assumed office in the Ministry, he has been conscious of the importance of this seemingly innocuous administrative procedure and has directed the fast-tracking of expatriate quota application and that the Ministry has significantly increased the number of approved business permits and decreased the duration of the process from 10 to seven weeks.
From August 2019 to date, he said, 1,182 companies have received the Minister’s approval with 12,374 expatriate quota positions.
The Minister assured that no hindrance or delay will stand in the way of giving approvals to all genuine and deserving applications.
He regretted however, that there have been abuses and gross violations of this laudable policy. This he said, include but not limited to companies employing expatriates without approval from the Ministry; allegations of companies obtaining fake permits for their expats; companies half-hearted or non-commitment to grooming Nigerian understudies; 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 expats they are being groomed to replace; and expats staying on their jobs for more than 10 years.
All these abuses and violations, the Minister said, have conspired to defeat the purpose of the policy and so deprive the nation of the intended benefits.
“This situation is not sustainable and we should not continue with it. I have therefore directed that a nine-member special taskforce that will monitor and enforce the Nigerian expatriate quota terms and conditions be empanelled with the following terms of reference: Audit all documentary requirements presented by all Expatriate Quota applicants for approval/renewal from 2015 to date; Verify compliance with all statutory returns as stipulated in the Ministry of Interior Regulation 2017; Verify compliance with the mandatory two understudies for each Expatriate Quota position in terms of the qualification of the Nigerian understudy and remuneration; Verify compliance with the mandatory training programmes (local and foreign) for the Nigerian understudies; Calculate all fines and penalties due from non-compliance with the terms and conditions and recommend appropriate remediation, sanction or prosecution; Recommend appropriate structure for sustainable continuous monitoring, evaluation and enforcement of the terms and conditions for the approval of Expatriate Quota: and Embark on such other assignments as may be directed by the Minister of Interior.”
Aregbesola who appealed to foreign companies, nationals and their governments to begin to respect our laws and government emphasized that it will no longer be business as usual. He therefore called on the task force to see their assignment which they are expected to complete in 180 days as a patriotic duty.
Responding, the Chairman of the Special Ministerial Task Force, Honourable Bola Ilori thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for granting them the opportunity to serve Nigeria and promised that the committee will carry out the assignment which is aimed at generating employment for Nigerian youths and to ensure that foreigners respect our laws.
The nine members of the special taskforce inaugurated by the Minister are:
• Chairman, Hon. Bola Ilori
• Vice Chairman, Mr. Olufunso Alabi
• Secretary, Director, Citizenship and Business
• Member, Comrade Williams Akoporeha, Representing the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC)
• Member, Engineer Olawale Olagunju, Representing of Association Professional Body of Nigeria (APBN)
• Member, Engr. Bimbo Daniyan
• Member, Mr Ademola Adeyinka, SSA to HMI, Strategy, Innovation and Delivery
• Member, Mrs Obianuju Ibegbulem, (Chief Superintendent of Immigration)
• Member, Engr. Dr Mrs Olufunmilade Akingbagbohun, Representing the Nigeria Society of Engineers
Director (Press & Public Relations)
For: Honourable Minister
1st December, 2020