The Ministry of Interior has said it had surpassed its N600 million revenue target from issuance of expatriate quota permits in the 2023 fiscal year by generating N1.195 billion between January and October.
Interior Minister Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo announced this during his 2024 budget defence session before the National Assembly Joint Committee on Interior yesterday in Abuja.
In his presentation to the joint committee for the outgoing 2023 fiscal year, the minister said the ministry surpassed its budgetary revenue projections on expatriate quotas permits and marriage.
He said: “Aside the projected revenue from expatriate quota permits that had been surpassed by about N600 million, the N380 million projected revenue from marriages has also been surpassed by over N500 million with N892.774 million realised as at October 31, 2023.”
Tunji-Ojo also said the ministry had cut the budget for feeding Correctional Service inmates by five per cent.
The minister said the ministry was paying N585 million to release 468 prisoners who were hitherto incarcerated over their inability to pay fines through public sector collaboration and at no cost to government.
He added that N3 million was saved per day, which amounted to N1.1 billion per annum.
The Chairman of the Joint Committee, Senator Adams Oshiomhole (APC, Edo North), told the minister that while it was pleasing that the ministry realised more revenue than its target on issuance of expatriates quota permits, the policy had allegedly given room for foreigners to steal jobs meant for Nigerians in their country.
Your ministry needs to regulate issuance of the quota (permits) very well. I have it on good authority that prisoners from foreign land are working in Nigeria as construction workers.
“This is even different from the age-long fraud the oil companies have been carrying out in the country through the policy of expatriate quotas by making our own qualified engineers to work under foreign technicians.
Many non-Nigerians are in the country; some of them live inside containers. I even believe and dare say it that there are foreign prisoners who are working in Nigeria. They were shipped to our country to serve their prison terms.
They are being paid according to their country’s minimum wage by the construction industries that brought them. I don’t want to mention the company’s name, but if I am provoked, I will mention them.”