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Step on Toes Where Necessary – Aregbesola to New Taskforce

The Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola has admonished newly inaugurated Special Taskforce On Expatriate Quota Administration, to do their work diligently and step on toes when it becomes unavoidable, as they have the backing of the government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Ministry of Interior.

Aregbesola, who said this at the inauguration of the Ministerial Special Taskforce On Expatriate Quota Administration, held in Abuja On Monday, August 22, 2022, urged the taskforce to demonstrate the sterner stuff they are made of, noting that there will be temptations and resistance along the way.

He however warned 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 land are duly followed by foreigners. Be courteous, but firm; be unobtrusive but detailed in your investigations.” Aregbesola said.

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.

In his speech, the Minister noted that “in line with President Muhammadu BuhaExpatriate Quotari’s promise to provide 100 million jobs for Nigerians, the policy has attracted investments in Nigeria’s economy and has also brought with it high level manpower development.

He however stated that there have been abuses and gross violations of this laudable policy, which includes; Companies employing expatriates without approval from the Ministry; Allegations of companies obtaining fake permits for their expatriates; Illegal transfers of approvals between and among firms and expatriates; and Failure to train Nigerian understudies up to the standard of the expatriates they are being groomed to replace, among other violations.

While commending members of the taskforce for diligently doing their work so far, the Minister charged the taskforce to commence Audit of all documentary requirements submitted by all Expatriate Quota/Business Permit applicants for approval/renewal from May 29, 2019 to date.

Other terms of reference include: “Verify compliance with the mandatory requirement of two understudies per expatriate quota position in terms of qualifications and remuneration; Verify compliance by the companies with the registration requirements of professional regulatory bodies for expatriates practicing in specialised fields in accordance with the law, Verify compliance with the mandatory training programme for Nigerian understudies;

“Confirm the contact details of organisations that have been issued with Expatriate Quotas and Business Permits; Calculate all fines and penalties due from non-compliance with the terms and conditions and recommend to HMI through the Permanent Secretary.”

The Membership of the taskforce constitutes; the Chairman, Hon. Bola Ilori, Co-chairman, Barr. (Mrs) M. Soyinka-Onijala, Director-Legal, Omotese Eva among others.

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