In pursuit of its policy of easing foreign direct investment without jeopardising local content considerations, the federal government has said it has granted 12,000 expatriate quota licences to foreigners seeking to work in Nigeria.
The minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, who gave the figure yesterday at the ongoing 6th edition of the annual Kaduna Economic Investment, in Kaduna, added that no fewer than 2,000 applications from companies have been processed.
Aregbesola who explained that the ministry from inception till date has handled 14,690 companies and granted 126,893 quota licences to expatriates said from August 2019 till date, the ministry has registered more than 2,000 companies, while over 12,000 expatriates have been given permits to work in Nigeria.
The minister said, “We now handle applications with dispatch and will encourage any firm or organisation with genuine need for expatriates to bring their applications. We shall accord it with the required courtesy.”
He reiterated that Nigeria is still a good and profitable investment haven, even in the face of security challenges.
“In spite of the challenges we have faced, it might interest us to know that Nigeria is still an investor’s dream where there is abundant raw materials, highly skilled and affordable workforce and the largest market for goods and services in Africa. The return on investment has always been mouth-watering”.
Aregbesola commended the Kaduna State government, Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) and the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) for organising the summit and choosing the topic, ‘Towards a sustainable knowledge-based economy’.
According to him, there has been a paradigm shift from comparative advantage to competitiveness.
He said with the latest development, knowledge and innovation will continue to drive business in the foreseeable future, even as he asked Nigerian entrepreneurs to invest in knowledge, innovation and cutting edge technologies.
The minister noted the nexus between security and the economy, stating that security is a critical factor in economic production.
His words: “No economic activity can take place successfully in an insecure environment. This is where the government comes in. As we all know, we have had some security challenges in the past, but we are overcoming them and hopefully they will soon be a thing of the past, given the government’s renewed onslaught on the problem. The environment must be enabled for business.”