The Federal Ministry of Interior (FMI) recently confirmed approval by the Honourable Minister of Interior (the Minister) for the upward review of the Combined Expatriate Residence Permit and Aliens Card (CERPAC) fees from $1,000 to $2,000 per annum. The Minister also added that there would not be a further review of the CERPAC fees until three years after the implementation of the new fee. Further, it is expected that the review will not affect missionaries/student CERPAC fees. The review had already taken effect in December 2018 and branches of the only commercial bank designated to sell the forms are adhering strictly to the new price.
The CERPAC permits a foreigner to live and work in Nigeria. This is renewable after two years subject to validity of expatriate quota. Up until December 2018, the form was purchased for $1,000 or its equivalent per annum as indicated on the NIS website.
This development could be a divergence from the Federal Government’s efforts towards promoting ease of doing business in Nigeria, as the review will lead to increase in the operational cost of running a business/engaging expatriates to reside and work in Nigeria. Further, the ability of companies to employ expatriates that possess the technical expertise required in a particular industry may be impaired and as a result, impact industry performance.
On the other hand, it is may be seen as part of the efforts of the Federal Government to reduce the influx of expatriates into Nigeria with the aim of achieving indigenization and developing local content and skills amongst Nigerians. In addition, it would assist companies to strictly monitor the transfer of knowledge from the expatriates to the Nigerian understudies. It could also be a way to encourage companies on the need to develop its local talents to take up more senior level positions.