NIGERIA has introduced a new immigration policy that will restrict the issuance of contractual visas to foreign professionals and businesses who bring along skills that are lacking in the country.
Dr Dan-Azumi Ibrahim, the director-general of the National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (Notap) , revealed that the new policy was to be implemented as part of Executive Order Five. He added that under the new policy, only foreign professionals with skills lacking in Nigeria would get visa approvals from the Federal Ministry of Internal Affairs.
Executive Order Five was signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari on February 2, 2018, to promote local content in public procurement. It mandates Notap to develop, maintain and regularly update a database of Nigerians with expertise in science, engineering, technology, and other fields of expertise.
Dr Ibrahim said: “The presidential Executive Order Five for planning and execution of projects, promotion of Nigerian content in contracts on science, engineering and technology, is aimed at ensuring that all procuring authorities shall give preference to Nigerian companies and firms in the award of contracts, in line with the Public Procurement Act 2007. The Executive Order also prohibits the ministry of interior from issuing visas to foreign nationals whose skills are readily available in Nigeria.
“In other words, the order will preclude foreigners from taking contract jobs that Nigerians have the competence and capabilities to handle. This is in a bid to not only protect and sustain the indigenous competencies but also to further build capacities as well as enhance their financial base.
“The president, in addition, directed ministries, departments, and agencies to engage indigenous professionals in the planning, design, and execution of national security projects. He, however, noted that where expertise is lacking, procuring entities will give preference to foreign companies and firms with a demonstrable and verifiable plan for indigenous skills development prior to the award of such contracts.”