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Bill on registration of foreign employers passes second reading

By Wahab Akanji, Abuja
A Bill that seeks to make it compulsory for foreign employers to register in Nigeria by the Ministry of Labour and Productivity has passed second reading in the House of Representatives.
The bill sponsored by the Majority Leader, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila is intended to amend the Labour Act and to strengthen and review fines and punishments stipulated in the Act.
Leading debate on it, Gbajabiamila said the aim of the bill was to further protect the Nigerian worker from being exploited by foreign employers operating in the country.
He said there were many foreign employers in Nigeria and that the country did not have a comprehensive data of such foreigners.
“As it stands, the Labour Act allows registration of employers by the ministry but this bill seeks to separate foreign from local employers”, he explained.
In her contribution, Rep. Nkeiruka Onyejeocha said that a lot of foreign companies employed foreigners where Nigerians should be employed.
She said that the bill, when passed would ensure that Nigerian experts were employed where necessary.
The lawmaker said that there were a lot of unregistered foreigners on the streets, noting that there was need to have them registered for effective monitoring.
Also speaking, Deputy Speaker, Yussuff Lasun said that the aims of the bill were very important for Nigeria in this time of recession.
According to him, the Nigerian market and jobs in the informal sector have been taken over by foreigners.
Lasun said that there were reported cases where unregistered foreigners working in the informal sector, like house helps, had killed the house owner.
According to him, there are also cases where less experienced and less qualified foreigners are made to supervise more experienced and qualified Nigerian experts.
He said that the bill when passed would correct a lot of abnormalities that existed in employers/employees relationship in the country.
In his ruling, the Speaker of the House, Mr Yakubu Dogara, referred the bill to the Committee on Labour, Employment and Productivity for further actions.

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