The Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola says the Federal Government is worried over the rising unemployment rate in the country.

Speaking at the 2nd Stakeholders’ Meeting on Expatriate Quota Administration organized by the Citizenship and Business Department of the Ministry of Interior, the Minister said: “Anyone that is not worried about the unemployment rate in the country is not a patriot.”

Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola

He lamented that the unemployment rate of 33 per cent released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) was indeed worrisome and a wakeup call that something urgently needed to be done to keep Nigerians employed and drastically reduce the unemployment rate.

The Minister, who called on all stakeholders at the meeting to ensure quality inputs were brought to the table that will lead to the production of a revised handbook on expatriate quota administration, insisted that a situation where foreign artisans are brought into the country as expatriates would no more be tolerated.

He lamented that some of the foreigners brought into the country on the guise of expatriate are carpenters, masons and all categories of artisans taking the jobs that Nigerians are more than qualified for.

Aregbesola said it was criminal for any organisation to bring an expatriate into the country without employing at least two Nigerians to understudy him to allow for technology transfer.

He said: “Business Permit and Expatriate quota administration is global best practices. Every nation regulates its economic relations with other nations in a mutually beneficial way, by putting its national interest and citizens above others. It is a healthy competition that has survived the test of time. If properly and effectively managed, it will lead to technology transfer, manpower development and rapid industrialisation.”

The Minister said an average of 30,000 expatriate quotas are issued and given to about 4,000 companies annually and if going by strict compliance with local content regulation and national interest, about 60,000 middle level employment opportunities are expected annually through the compulsory understudy programme for knowledge and skill transfer.

He noted that effective implementation of the rules concerning expatriate quota will lead to rapid industrialization, economic growth and social development in Nigeria.

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