Nigeria signs order restricting import of foreign skills

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By Oluwatobi Opusunju

The Nigerian government is restricting import of foreign skills and scientific tools except procuring companies prove such skills or equipment cannot be source locally. The restriction follows a new Executive Order signed by the Federal Government in the hope of improving local content in public procurement for science, engineering and technology components; and also to conserve scarce FOREX as Nigeria battles to revamp its economy after coming out of recession.

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Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media & Publicity, Mr. Garba Shehu said the Executive Order, signed by President Buhari in Abuja at the close of work yesterday, is expected to promote the application of science, technology and innovation towards achieving the nation’s development goals across all sectors.

Executive Order

“The President, pursuant to the authority vested in him by the Constitution, ordered 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 giving visas to foreign workers whose skills are readily available in Nigeria as a way of checkmating the high rate of capital flights in the country.

Conditions for foreign skills import

“It, however, notes that where expertise is lacking, procuring entities will give preference to foreign companies and firms with a demonstrable and verifiable plan for indigenous development, prior to the award of such contracts.

“In the proclamation entitled “Presidential Executive Order 5 For Planning And Execution Of Projects, Promotion Of Nigerian Content In Contracts And Science, Engineering And Technology,” the President also directed Ministries, Departments and Agencies to engage indigenous professionals in the planning, design and execution of national security projects.”

It adds that ‘‘consideration shall only be given to a foreign professional, where it is certified by the appropriate authority that such expertise is not available in Nigeria.’’

This is the fifth Executive Order the Buhari led administration will be signing.

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