Why Some Vested Interests Are Opposing Implemetation Of Expatriate Employment Levy

Vested interests allegedly involved in economic sabotage have been fingered among those mainly opposing the Expatriates Employment Levy (EEL).

The EEL was launched on Tuesday, February 27, 2024, by President Bola Tinubu.

There are strong and credible feelers that some members of the associations that are opposed to the implementation of the EEL have, over the years, been manipulating the expatriate quota system for selfish, unpatriotic reasons that undermine the nation’s economy.

According to findings, some members of these associations have been falsifying expatriate quotas on a massive scale to exploit the system for substantial foreign exchange gains.

By inflating the number of expatriates purportedly employed, they seek to evade paying the mandated levies while profiting from the forex allocations provided by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

“It is deeply concerning to discover such egregious manipulation of regulations designed to regulate expatriate employment and safeguard our national interests,” remarked a source who spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter.

The strategy employed by some members of these associations involves applying for inflated quotas of expatriate workers, ostensibly for offshore remuneration purposes.

However, investigations showed that these quotas were grossly exaggerated, with many of the reported expatriates either non-existent or engaged in minimal roles within the organizations.

“The exploitation of the system not only deprives the government of vital revenue through unpaid levies but also contributes to the strain on our already limited foreign exchange reserves,” the source said.

It is alleged that upon receiving the CBN allocations intended for legitimate expatriate employment expenses, some members of the associations exploited the opportunity to sell foreign currency in the black market for significant profits, thereby exacerbating the scarcity of foreign exchange in the country’s banking system.

A government official who neither confirmed nor denied the practice said the opposition to the implementation of the Expatriate Employment Levy by these associations could be suggestive of possible pecuniary benefits beyond the hue and cry over the EEL that they consider to be exorbitant.

Expatriates at the level of directors are to pay $15,000 as EEL while other categories of expat workers are to pay $10,000.

The opposition to EEL, according to the official largely appeared to be driven by self-serving motives aimed at perpetuating their exploitative practices rather than genuine concerns for the welfare of Nigerian workers or the nation’s economic stability.

“It is a matter of great concern that certain entities within our society are actively working against measures aimed at promoting accountability, transparency, and economic development,” another source close to the Government said.

The situation has raised the alarms among regulatory bodies, prompting calls for stringent enforcement measures and closer scrutiny of expatriate employment practices within the country.

“While many nations worldwide have embraced similar policies to regulate expatriate employment and protect their economies, it is regrettable that some individuals within Nigeria are colluding to subvert the system for their gain,” said the source.

As the investigation into the development is activated, appropriate authorities have taken steps to bring to book those found complicit in the exploitation of the system.