The President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday, February 5, in Abuja, signed Executive Order 5 to improve local content in public procurement with science, engineering and technology components. The Executive Order is expected to promote the application of science, technology and innovation towards achieving the nation's development goals across all sectors of the economy.
In the proclamation titled ''PRESIDENTIAL EXECUTIVE ORDER 5 FOR PLANNING AND EXECUTION OF PROJECTS, PROMOTION OF NIGERIAN CONTENT IN CONTRACTS AND SCIENCE, ENGINEERING AND TECHNOLOGY,''
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 issuing visas to foreign nationals whose skills are readily available in Nigeria.
The President in addition, directed Ministries, Departments and Agencies to engage indigenous professionals in the planning, design and execution of national security projects. He however, noted 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."
He also added that "consideration shall be only be given to a foreign professional, where it is certified that such expertise is not available in Nigeria.
With the signing of the Executive Order, companies that intend to employ foreign nationals on long term work authorisation and require the grant of expatriate quota will undergo additional rigorous scrutiny.
The companies would be compulsorily required to employ Nigerians to understudy their foreign experts in order to enable them acquire the requisite skills for the eventual takeover of the expatriate positions by a Nigerian counterpart. Although this has always been the case, it is our opinion that there would be higher scrutiny of this requirement.
The Nigeria Immigration Service is also committed to enforcing the Executive Order in ensuring that companies strictly adhere to the government's intention to increase local participation in science, engineering and technology procurement.
A comprehensive and considered opinion on the effect of the Executive Order would follow shortly.
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