Turning back to the economic populism that helped drive his election campaign, President Muhammadu Buhari signed an executive order on Monday directing the Ministry of Interior to tighten rules on visas for foreign skilled workers.
The order “prohibits the ministry of interior from giving visas to foreign workers whose skills are readily available in Nigeria.”
The executive order states that foreigners will be considered for jobs “where it is certified by the appropriate authority that such expertise is not available in Nigeria.
The executive order also tells government agencies to “give preference to Nigerian companies and firms in the award of contracts.
Responding to Per Second News inquiry, minister of Interior, Rtd Lt.General Abdulrahman Dambazau, said the executive order did not put a stop to visas for foreign skilled workers as reported in the media Tuesday.
” Everything is done to encourage legitimate investors into the country in order to boost the economy, transfer technology, and create jobs, the minister said in an email he personally sent to Per Second News Tuesday night.
“Nigerian Immigration issues visa to all those who meet the requirements without delay, and the Ministry has not received any adverse report on visa issuance.”
The minister said the executive order signed by President Buhari is not in conflict with the administration’s rule last year to lure foreign investors with relaxed visa rules.
” It must be fake news, he said. ” First, the Executive Order on the Ease of Doing Business signed by Mr President is meant to facilitate investment, not just of money or wealth, but also of technology and skills. This is why the Nigerian Immigration Service has been directed to issue visa on arrival for persons who travel to Nigeria on legitimate business, especially such businesses that would add value to our economy.
” Second, there is a Department of Citizenship & Business in the Ministry of Interior that issues Expatriate Quota certificates to companies that intend to bring in experts in various fields relating to the businesses the companies are registered for. Of course this is done after they satisfy certain requirements, and it is mandatory that the companies employ Nigerians to understudy such expatriates, he concluded.
At the Conference Hall of the Presidential Villa during the climax of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) meeting last year May, Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, signed three executive orders and one of the orders approved speedy visas for foreigners and investors, allowing them to obtain visa issuance within 48 hours or on arrival in Nigeria.
It might seem that persistently high unemployment rates over the past few years have rendered moot the debate over whether or not Nigeria “needs” the highly skilled foreign workers
Nigeria need more highly skilled workers in order to satisfy the needs of a continuously-expanding and innovative economy, experts say.