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Tinubu launches handbook to close wage gaps between Nigerians, foreigners

The president also said that with the initiatives currently undertaken by his administration, Nigerians would begin to see improvement in their standard of living.

President Bola Tinubu  [Presidency]

The president said that the implementation of the Expatriate Employment Levy (EEL) should not constitute a bottleneck or hindrance to the much-needed foreign investment into the country.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the policy was initiated to oversee expatriate employment in the country as well as necessitates employers to pay a levy for hiring expatriates.

Its primary goals include fostering the development of the local workforce, diminishing reliance on foreign skills and encouraging companies to prioritise hiring of Nigerians.

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Through this levy, the government aims to find an equilibrium between leveraging international expertise and nurturing indigenous talent in Nigeria’s job market.

"I consider it a game changer. It is important to know that EEL is a contribution recently approved by the government, which will impose an effective timeline on expatriates working in this country to be able to train and develop Nigerians.

"I’ve been further assured that the project has the capacity of plugging loopholes and gaps that have bedevilled the country in dealing with security challenges and movement of foreigners in and out of the country,’’ Tinubu said.

The president also said that with the initiatives currently undertaken by his administration, Nigerians would begin to see improvement in their standard of living, adding that various arms of government were collaborating to realise this objective.

He added that collaboration among MDAs would continue to engender development and progress that would retool and reengineer the finances of the country.

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"There will be clear lines of implementation and effective acceleration of aims and objectives of this programme.

"Immigration matters, expatriate quotas and relevant stakeholders have to be effectively guided to make Nigeria the focus of the objective of this EEL,’’ he stated.

The Minister of Interior, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, said that the programme would be operated on a Public Private Partnership model between the Federal Government, Nigeria Immigration Service and a private firm.

He said that the project, which was approved by the Federal Executive Council in May 2023, would ensure that expatriates only work in the country where no Nigerian had the needed skills for such jobs.

"That’s the major objective of this particular initiative; balancing employment opportunities between Nigerians and expatriates.

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"And of course, closing wage gaps between expatriates and the Nigerian labour force by making it more attractive to hire Nigerians.

"As a guide, the comprehensive handbook has been developed on the project to guide stakeholders, especially foreign-owned companies, joint venture companies, organisations and indigenous companies that employ expatriates, to understand the concept as well as to comply with the new ideal.

"Part of the motivation is to reduce the dependence of companies on foreign personnel and of course to also reduce the rate at which renewal of expatriate quota has been sought after by companies,’’ he noted.

Tunji-Ojo said that the scheme would also prioritise knowledge transition, and training of Nigerians as well as create more opportunities for the country’s teeming youth.

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