Civil Society Organisation To FG: Implement The Expatriate Employment Levy In The National Interest

National Convener of Labour & Civil Society Coalition (LASCO), Comrade Tony Erha, has stressed the importance of retaining the expatriate employment levy [EEL] despite mounting pressure for its cancellation by some interest groups.

The EEL, together with the handbook, was launched on Tuesday, February 27, 2024, by President Bola Tinubu in Abuja.

Erha, in a statement issued in Abuja against the backdrop of the Federal Government’s decision to temporarily suspend implementation of the EEL to allow for more stakeholders’ engagement, earnestly pleaded for the retention of the levy.

He underscored the manifold benefits of the levy, emphasizing its pivotal role in income generation, employment provision for the nation’s youth, and the promotion of local content development.

The expatriate employment levy, a fee imposed on companies for hiring foreign workers, has recently been a subject of contention, with National Employers’ Consultative Assembly [NECA] and a couple of other interest groups opposing its implementation.

Throwing its weight behind the levy, Erha advised the Federal Governent not to capitulate to demand for its cancellation.

He cited the “significant advantages the EEL brings to Nigeria’s economic landscape,” pointing out that “those criticising it are doing so only for selfish reasons.”

According to him: “Income generation is vital for the sustenance of any economy. The expatriate employment levy serves as a crucial source of revenue for the government, contributing to national development initiatives and infrastructure projects.”

Erha underscored the role of the levy in addressing the issue of unemployment among Nigerian youth.

“By incentivizing companies to prioritize local talent over foreign hires, the levy creates job opportunities for young Nigerians, thereby fostering youth empowerment and economic inclusion.

“Unemployment remains a pressing concern in our country, particularly among the youth.

“The retention of the expatriate employment levy is instrumental in promoting job creation and reducing dependency on foreign expertise,” he stated.

Erha emphasized the importance of nurturing local content development across various industries.

According to him: “By levying a fee on the employment of expatriates, the government encourages companies to invest in local talent and skills development, ultimately fostering indigenous capacity-building and technological advancement.

“We must prioritize the development of our local workforce and industries. The expatriate employment levy incentivises companies to transfer knowledge and expertise to Nigerian workers, thus enhancing our capacity for innovation and economic self-reliance.”

He adverted attention to the global context, pointing out that “many other countries impose similar levies on expatriate employment.

“Nigeria is not alone in implementing such measures. Numerous countries around the world recognize the importance of regulating expatriate employment to safeguard their economies and promote indigenous workforce development.”

He urged the Federal Government to stand firm in its decision to implement the expatriate employment levy, after hearing out NECA and co, emphasizing its critical role in revenue generation, youth empowerment, and local content development.

According to him: “Now more than ever, we need to prioritize policies that advance the interests of our nation and its people. The expatriate employment levy is a cornerstone of such policies and should be upheld for the greater good of Nigeria.”

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