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‘Firms to pay for hiring foreigners’ — Tinubu launches expatriate employment levy

‘Firms to pay for hiring foreigners’ — Tinubu launches expatriate employment levy
February 28
08:27 2024

President Bola Tinubu has launched the expatriate employment levy (EEL) to close wage gaps between expatriates and the Nigerian labour force.

The EEL also mandates firms to pay levies for hiring expatriates and provides guidelines on the employment of Nigerians in foreign-owned companies.

Tinubu said the policy, which was initiated to oversee expatriate employment in the country, should not become a hindrance to foreign investment.

The initiative, according to the EEL handbook, aims to diminish reliance on foreign skills and encourage companies to prioritise the hiring of Nigerians by supporting the development of the local workforce.


The policy document also said the government intends to find a balance between leveraging foreign expertise and fostering local talent in Nigeria’s job market through the EEL.

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

“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 with the initiatives currently undertaken by his administration, Nigerians will begin to see improvement in their standard of living, adding that several arms of government are partnering to accomplish this purpose.

He said continued cooperation among MDAs would spur advancement and development that would retool and reengineer the nation’s financial system.

“There will be clear lines of implementation and effective acceleration of aims and objectives of this programme,” the president said.

“Immigration matters, expatriate quotas and relevant stakeholders have to be effectively guided to make Nigeria the focus of the objective of this EEL.”



On his part, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, minister of interior, said the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), a private company, and the federal government will run the initiative through a public-private partnership (PPP) model.

He said the project, which was approved by the federal executive council (FEC) in May 2023, would ensure that expatriates only work in the country where no Nigerian has the needed skills for such jobs.

“That’s the major objective of this particular initiative; balancing employment opportunities between Nigerians and expatriates,” Tunji-Ojo said.


“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 company that employ expatriates, to understand the concept as well as to comply with the new ideal.”


Part of the driving force, he said, is to reduce the reliance of companies on foreign personnel as well as the frequency with which businesses pursue the renewal of their expatriate quota.

Tunji-Ojo said the policy would also give priority to the transfer of knowledge, training Nigerians, and creating more opportunities for the youths in the nation.


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