President Bola Tinubu on Tuesday in Abuja launched the Expatriate Employment Levy (EEL) to facilitate home-grown skill retention and technology domestication and to balance employment opportunities between Nigerians and expatriates.

Speaking at the launch of the Expatriate Employment Levy handbook, the President also said the aim is to close wage gaps between expatriates and the Nigerian labour force, while increasing employment opportunities for qualified Nigerians in foreign companies operating in the country.

President Tinubu, however, warned that the scheme should not be used as an impediment nor as a cudgel wielded to discourage foreign investors.

“We expect improved revenue generation; improved naturalization and indigenization; we anticipate the employment of more qualified Nigerians by foreign companies operating in this country. We seek a greater balancing of employment opportunities between Nigerians and expatriates and the closure of the wage gap between expatriates and the Nigerian labour force by making it more attractive to hire Nigerians.

“I declare my support for the Expatriate Employment Levy scheme, and I will continue to encourage the operators, practitioners of immigration matters and expatriate quotas, but I emphasize: do not use it as a bottleneck; do not use it as an obstacle to frustrate potential investors.

“There will be clear lines of implementation and effective acceleration of aims and objectives of this programme. officials in charge of immigration matters, expatriate quotas, and relevant stakeholders have to be effectively guided to make Nigeria the focus of the objective of this EEL. Therefore, it is my honour to launch the handbook of the Expatriate Employment Levy,” President Tinubu said.

The President used the occasion to assure Nigerians that there is imminent light at the end of the tunnel as the country gradually turns the corner, adding: “We might be going through a difficult period now, but when you look at the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC), the Federal Ministries of Finance; Budget and National Planning, and the people manning the ship of this country, including the Central Bank of Nigeria, they have collaborated, and in the spirit of development and progress, we are glad that good effort is being made to re-engineer the finances of the country and make growth our hallmark.”

Speaking on the details of the initiative, the Minister of Interior, Mr. Bunmi Tunji-Ojo, explained that the project would be operated on a public-private partnership model between the federal government of Nigeria, the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), which is the implementing agency, and a technical partner, EEL Projects Limited.

“It is worthy to mention that the project is aligned with the eight-point agenda of Mr. President, especially on the issue of job security and economic growth. This project will, among other things, lead to technology domestication.

“The essence of this is to be sure that if you are bringing an expatriate to work in Nigeria, it should be a job that no Nigerian has the skill to do. That is the major objective of this particular initiative,” the Minister said.

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