Reps to probe abuse of Expatriate Quota in telecoms industry

Members of the House of Representatives on Tuesday expressed overwhelming support for a motion which seeks to probe allegation bothering on the abuse of expatriate quota by equipment vendors and service providers in the telecommunication industry.

The resolution was passed sequel to the adoption of a motion sponsored by Hon Bello Shinkafi, who frowned at the lackadaisical attitude of the regulatory agencies namely: Federal Ministry of Interior and Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) in enforcing relevant laws and policy.

In his lead debate, Hon Shinkafi frowned at the flagrant abuse of the two principal laws namely: Immigration Act, 2015 and the Immigration Service Regulations, 2017 which govern the employment of expatriates in Nigeria by the industry operators.

“The House notes that the law empowers the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) to, from time to time, issue entry permits and expatriate quota to foreigners who intend to work in Nigeria for specifically approved jobs and for a specific period with a view to training Nigerians and transferring their requisite skills during their period of employment.

“The House further notes that the expatriate quota guides against the indiscriminate employment of expatriates where there are qualified Nigerians who can fit into those positions.

“The House is aware that expatriate quota may be granted for an initial period of 3 years, and can be renewed further for a period of 2 years subject to a total life span of 10 years within which such relevant skills ought to have been transferred to Nigerians understudying such expatriates.

“The House is also aware of a clause in the expatriate policy which provides for two Nigerians to understudy an expatriate, to promote the transfer of knowledge and technology, however, some of those foreign companies have taken advantage of this clause in active connivance with the Nigeria Immigration Service and other agencies to bring as many of their nationals as possible, sometimes illegally, in gross disregard for the law.

“The House is worried that the abuse of expatriate quotas by those foreign companies is not deemed a national security issue by the Federal Government, particularly so at a time of record of youth unemployment and the age of terrorism.

“The House is concerned that the practice of expatriate quota abuse was initially restricted to the Oil and Gas sector but has now been extended to the telecommunications sector in which there is a surfeit of local skills, many of the expatriates still retain their employments after their permits had expired and not been renewed as required by law.

“The House is also concerned that the expatriates enjoy unimaginable pay and privileges while their Nigerian counterparts are paid less and treated with disdain in their own country and many competent Nigerians lose their jobs and the country loses multi-million dollars annually,” he noted.

To this end, the House mandated the joint Committees on Telecommunications and Interior to investigate the alleged expatriate quota abuse in the Telecommunications Sector and report back within six weeks for further legislative action.

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