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FG moves against expatriate quota violations, constitutes taskforce

Osun APC tells members to ignore membership registration by Aregbesola

The Federal Government, on Tuesday, re-inaugurated a task force to check the abuse and violation of Nigeria’s expatriate quota policy by foreign nationals and some organisations in the country.

An expatriate quota is an approval granted by the government to foreign or indigenous firms to engage foreigners for specific jobs over a period of time. It applies in areas where technical competencies or high-level skilled manpower are not readily available in the country.

Locals are usually assigned to understudy the expatriate with the objective to transfer the skills over time.

In Nigeria, the expatriate quota system is believed to be so abused and violated that foreigners are even brought in to handle jobs that Nigerians have technical capacities to handle.

At the re-inauguration of the expanded task force on the expatriate quota administration, on Tuesday, Rauf Aregbesola, minister of internal affairs decried its gross violation.

“These abuses include, but not limited to companies employing expatriates without approval from the ministry; allegations of companies obtaining fake permits for their expatriates; 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 expatriates they are being groomed to replace; and expatriates staying on their jobs for more than 10 years,” he said.

Read also: NIS and an unenforceable expatriate quota

Afonja Ajibola, deputy director of press and public relations in the of ministry of interior, in a statement, quoted Aregbesola as saying that 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.

The minister said these would ultimately create a dependency syndrome, and Nigeria cannot afford this to happen, as it would breed resentment, xenophobia and bad blood between nationals and foreigners.

Aregbesola recalled that the taskforce was first inaugurated on December 1, 2020, “but due to other developments and matters arising, necessitated the expansion of the membership of the taskforce, hence its re-inauguration.

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“Expatriate quota is a global best practice. It is one of the means through which countries protect their economies and stimulate development through healthy interactions with other nations.

“It 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,’’ he said.

The minister charged the 21-member taskforce, which has Bola Ilori as its chairman and Ejike Osibe as secretary, to do their work diligently, adding “you should step on toes where necessary and when it becomes unavoidable.

“Always have at the back of your mind that you have the backing of the government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, especially the ministry,’’ he said.

Aregbesola, however, said that the taskforce was not to witch-hunt or attempt to make foreigners and their companies uncomfortable.

The minister said that the taskforce has the mandate to ensure that the laws of the land were complied with by foreigners just like Nigerians.

“Be courteous, but firm; be unobtrusive but detailed in your investigations,’’ he said.

The minister said that the expatriate quota policy provides an effective means for documenting foreigner`s presence, their activities and ensuring their protection an.

According to Aregbesola, the permits are 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,” he said.