EU concerns over Nigeria’s expatriate employment levy ill-advised – Union 


National Convener of Labour and Civil Society Coalition, Comrade Tony Erha, has taken on the European Union (EU) on its concerns about the launch of Expatriate Employment Levy (EEL) announced by President Bola Tinubu on February 27, saying the recent expression of concerns by the EU was ill-advised.

He noted that, though the concerns stemmed from how the new levy was introduced by the Nigerian government, including alleged potential negative impacts on investor confidence, the EU, however, overlooked the necessity and rationale behind the introduction of the EEL in Nigeria. 

Erha stated that the Head of Cooperation at the Delegation of the European Union to Nigeria, Massimo De Luca, who voiced the concerns during the fourth session of the steering committee of the support programme for Fiscal Transition in West Africa (PATF) held in Abuja, failed to realise that the levy was a strategic measure aimed at promoting local employment opportunities and addressing challenges related to expatriate employment.

He said: “The disparity in wages between expatriates and local workers is ridiculous, whereas immigrant workers, particularly in some European countries, often earn significantly lower wages, even when qualified, compared to other cadres of employees.

“In Nigeria, however, many expatriates rather contribute to economic disparities and hinder the development of indigenous talent, while the minimum wage, which immigrants predominantly earn in European countries, is notably low, raising concerns about the fairness and equity of the employment landscape.

“We need a context-specific policy tailored to address the unique socio-economic dynamics of the country. Unlike European countries, Nigeria faces peculiar challenges in its labour market, including high levels of unemployment and underemployment. As such, measures such as the EEL are essential steps towards promoting inclusivity and creating opportunities for Nigerian citizens.

“European countries are known for frequently reviewing and adapting their immigration policies to address evolving challenges and priorities. Given this context, it is preposterous to imagine why similar scrutiny and adaptation are not extended to Nigeria’s immigration laws.

“It is important to always consider the imperative of the broader socio-economic context and the need for tailored solutions to address Nigeria’s unique challenges in the labour market.”