March 4, 2024

Centre to FG: Rethink $15,000 expatriate levy amid investment worries

Centre to FG: Rethink $15,000 expatriate levy amid investment worries

By Luminous Jannamike

ABUJA – The Centre for Public Interest Law and Advocacy has called on the Federal Government to promptly reconsider the expatriate levy, which imposes fees of $15,000 for directors and $10,000 for other employees in companies.

Barrister Temi Salami, Director General of the Centre, appealed in a statement on Monday, urging the Federal Government to make economic policy decisions and pronouncements with careful deliberation rather than impulsiveness.

He cautioned that the possibility of imprisonment for non-compliance could discourage foreign direct investment in the nation.

The Centre observed that the Corporate Affairs Commission has raised the required share capital for foreign investments from 10,000 to 100 million, cautioning that such policies could dissuade potential foreign investors.

The statement described recent policy decisions as counterproductive and contrary to the Federal Government’s objective of promoting foreign investment.

Salami stated, “The Expatriate Employment Handbook (EEH), where the expatriate levy was increased to between $10,000 and $15,000, is subordinate to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), which is the fundamental law of the land.

“Section 59 of the Nigerian Constitution mandates that any increase in tax, duty, or levy must be sanctioned by an Act of the National Assembly. Thus, the hiked expatriate levy is essentially an exercise in futility.

“The government must act deliberately and resist the urge to make impulsive policy decisions. Moreover, the new expatriate levy could have adverse effects on the Federal Government’s ongoing fiscal and monetary reforms if implemented.

“It is clear that the increase has not been well considered, especially at a time when businesses are downsizing or leaving Nigeria. Evidently, the Federal Government is inadvertently working against its own interests.

“Foreign investment is a crucial catalyst for economic growth in developing countries like Nigeria, as it stimulates domestic investment, increases capital formation, and facilitates technology transfer.

“We implore the Federal Government to align its policies with existing laws and the objectives of the Federal Government of Nigeria.”