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SPOTTED: Contractor to earn $95m for building ICT system for expatriate employment levy

SPOTTED: Contractor to earn $95m for building ICT system for expatriate employment levy
March 02
07:19 2024

The sum of $95 million has been earmarked as payment for the building of an information and communication technology (ICT) system for the collection of expatriate employment levy (EEL). 

According to details of the project on the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) website, the EEL was approved by the federal executive council (FEC) in May 2023 during the administration of former President Muhammadu Buhari.

According to the statement by ICRC, Messrs Air Wave is the concessionaire of the project, which is expected to generate about $13.4 billion. 

“The project is approved at a cost of $95,024,000, with Messrs Air Wave Ltd as concessionaire and an estimated revenue of $13,391,529,119 ($13.4 billion),” the statement reads.

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FG LAUNCHES EEL

President Bola Tinubu, on February 28, 2024, launched the EEL levy to close wage gaps between expatriates and the domestic labour force.

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The EEL mandates firms to pay levies for hiring expatriates and provides guidelines for employing Nigerians in foreign-owned companies, with the goal being to “reduce reliance on foreign expertise and support local workforce development”.

Employers are expected to pay $15,000 for every expatriate on director level and $10,000 for those on other levels annually.

“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 had 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.”

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Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, minister of interior, said the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), a private company, and the federal government would partner to achieve the initiative through a public-private partnership model. 

“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,” he said. 

$95M: WHAT NEXT?

When TheCable asked whether the Tinubu administration was aware of the $95 million project sum or if there had been any adjustments, a presidential spokesperson said ministries and agencies are responsible for the implementation of projects.

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Speaking to TheCable on Friday, Temitope Ajayi, senior special assistant to the president on media and publicity, said: “Ministries and agencies have responsibility for projects and implementation of policies.”

He said the implementing agencies (NIS and ministry of interior) are in a better position to address the issue. 

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When TheCable reached out to Kenneth Kure, the service public relations officer of the NIS, he said: “I do not have any information right now.”

Kure subsequently promised to reach out next week.

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Editor’s note: This report has been modified based on fresh facts.

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