Expatriate Quota and the Telecom Industry: Nigerian Government Vows to Curb Abuse

The non-compliance to the laws regulating the influx of expatriates into Nigeria has led to increasing cases of abuse of the expatriates’ quota system by telcos in the country. In fact, it is done without due regard to the Nigerian Local Content Act and the recently signed Executive Order.

In an effort to ensure that the country keeps pace with the global competition in technology, the Federal Government had made provisions for companies to hire expatriates only on technical grounds and in areas where Nigerians lack the skills and capacities. This is to ensure that Nigerians take up jobs they are competent at.

Also, there’s a clause in the expatriate policy which provides for two Nigerians to understudy an expatriate, in order to promote transfer of knowledge and technology.

Telecommunication companies in Nigeria
Telecommunication companies in Nigeria

However, this has not been the case, as these foreign companies have taken advantage of the feeble monitoring process of policies to bring as many of their nationals as possible. Usually, under the disguise of performing jobs that Nigerians lack capacity in.

Some of these companies even go as far as bringing these foreigners illegally into the country, disregarding normal immigration processes.

The Effects of Expatriate Quota Abuse on Indigenous Companies

Over the years, the issue of expatriate quota abuse has become a major challenge to the government, and it has been taking its toll on Nigerian job seekers. Foreigners remain the preferred applicants in the labour market, doing the jobs that both skilled and unskilled Nigerians should be doing.

Additionally, the expatriates enjoy unimaginable pay and dreamland privileges, unlike their Nigerian counterparts. Even with ample evidence, the Government has been criticized for failing to checkmate these abuses by multinationals.

What is the Government Doing to Curb this?

Finally, there seems to be hope for Nigerians as the House of Representatives Committee on Telecommunications has shown disdain at the alleged abuse of expatriates’ quota by telcos operating in Nigeria.

Nigerian House of Representatives to curb the expatriate quota abuse
Nigerian House of Representatives to curb the expatriate quota abuse

Chairman of the committee Saheed Akinade-Fijabi, while reacting to the submission of Huawei Technologies Company Nigeria Limited, one of the companies alleged to have abused the quota, said that the company had 299 expatriates.  These expatriates were mainly ‎Chinese, who despite the availability of qualified Nigerians, perform duties meant for indigenous staff members.

Mr. Akinjabi-Fijabi said:

If you say you have about 10 or less expatriates in your company, that can be overlooked. But when you have about 300, that is alarming and unacceptable when we have the local content law and the recently signed executive order by the president.

The parliament also says it will henceforth make sure that this violation of the law is put to an end. And that if any company is found guilty of these allegations, the house will not hesitate to send them packing.

There, hope after all!


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