Sunday, 29 April 2012


Evening Everyone, I hope you all had a relaxing weekend and are ready for the fantastic week ahead? I've been thinking about a few things this weekend and one of them is the issue of hiring workers in Nigeria. There were a few heated debates about the issue of foreign workers "stealing our jobs" and I couldn't have disagreed more vehemently (and believe me I did...nothing like a heated debate to get the blood pumping! lol) As someone who has worked both locally and internationally, I fully support the right of an employer to hire the best candidate irrespective of race, creed, colour, or ethnic background. Finding someone with the right skills, competencies, and cultural fit are some of the most important factors in personnel recruitment and I have never seen an instance where an "outsider" didn't fit in perfectly and excelled above and beyond their call of duty.

However, i know views differ. Yesterday I stumbled across an article on the Internet (vanguard Online  Newspaper) about hiring expatriates in Nigeria. an excerpt can be found below:

THE issue of the upsurge in hiring expatriates and expatriate quota abuse in Nigeria has remained topical in the nation's employment system. Organised labour, civil society groups and other concerned Nigerians have continued to see the increase and abuse as not only an economic crime, but also compounding the employment crisis in the country. In this interview, Mr. Femi Mokikan, the Executive Director, Human Resources, 7UP Bottling Company Plc, gives reasons for the increasing intake of expatriates in Nigerian economy:

Excerpts from the interview: The issue of expatriate quota, if you allow me, I will speak generally. I know I was at Nigeria Employers Consultative Association, NECA, and I was chairman, Human Resources committee for a while, and this issue featured prominently to a point where we even had to go to the Federal Ministry of Labour in Abuja. Initially, the idea was, no expatriates, then later it became these expatriates should not do particular kinds of jobs. I do not think there is any economies in the world that can say do not use other nationalities. So, that one is not what anybody is talking about. I think the question people usually ask is; why should expatriates be taking on jobs that Nigerians can do? I think our educational system in this country has not helped us too. I am speaking as a Nigerian; I am also speaking as an employer of labour that is operating in an environment that is extremely competitive, an environment where technology changes as you blink you eyes. That is why such areas where we used to pride ourselves as being capable as Nigerians, we now have to ask ourselves, how well can Nigerians do this?
 When investors bring in their money, they expect maximum returns. Even though it would cost a bit more, they would rather get an expatriate than a Nigerian who will give minimum returns. I think that is what is happening in the area of expatriates' employment generally.Question: How will you respond to those that claim 7UP Bottling Company is one of the companies that abuse expatriate quota? 

A. Engineering today has moved from pneumatic to electrical electronics. Most things are electrically driven, including the trucks we use. Everything today is electronics, you just press buttons. You go to the production line, you just see buttons. But as we are upgrading those technologies, we also need the people. For example, we moved from diesel powered generators, because we thought diesel was becoming something else, so expensive. So, we moved to gas, not that we did a conversion, we bought brand new generators. Of course, we do not have the technology in terms of the personnel. But as installation was taking place, kidnappers came. In fact, when we first started hearing of kidnappers, we got a mobile policeman. The kidnappers killed the mobile policeman, carried his corpse and put him inside the vehicle, poured petrol and burnt it. After that experience, the expatriate, till tomorrow, where he is, if he hears 'Ni' he will not wait for 'geria'. The next opportunity we had to bring the expatriates to Lagos, they did not stay. They were still doing installation, we had not even finished, they just left and we were back to square one. We went to Egypt to see if we could find expatriates there, none of them wanted to come. We devised another strategy to have quarters within the premises so that whoever that is coming, he will enter that place. It is like you are going to a concentration camp. During the interview, we told them that their supermarket and everything was programmed. We also made it a point of duty to let them know that they must be ready to teach Nigerians. Some of them were not willing to transfer this knowledge. Those ones just like some Nigerian managers who will also not want to teach others for fear that if the student knows too much, he may take over the job..."


Although I have never believed the answer to Nigeria's manpower planning problem was the hiring of expatriate workers,I firmly believe in hiring the right person for the job. If the requisite skills and competencies cannot be found locally, why not recruit internationally, subject to salary and the financial justification of hiring internationally? The bottom line is getting the right person for the right job...or isn't it? Nigeria is a diverse nation with millions of opportunities and enough space for everyone, just like any other developed and developing nation...or isn't it?

And as for an abuse of the system, who exactly is responsible for this and why do you think abuse of the system happens?

What are your thoughts readers?

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