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Working in Nigeria?

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Nigeria at a Glance

Working in Nigeria

Working in Nigeria has been a popular choice for expats ever since the large oil reserves were tapped. But for the locals, doing business in Nigeria may be connected with informal employment and corruption. Read on for a brief overview on working in Nigeria, from employment sectors to business etiquette.

Nigeria: Dependence on Natural Resources

The fossil fuel industry is, by far, the most important source of revenue for Nigeria. It accounts for 95% of all exports and 35% of the nation’s GDP, although only 10% of employees are currently working in the country’s oil industry. In addition, Nigeria also boasts large sources of natural gas and mineral coal.

The mining industry is unfortunately overshadowed by the nation’s fixation on petrol, but it should offer excellent opportunities for the future. Nigeria has reserves of iron ore, gold, tungsten, and uranium, among others – all waiting to be exploited.

The Agricultural Sector in Nigeria

The nation’s population is growing explosively: one out of every six Africans is Nigerian. The nation has had some problems keeping all these people well fed: Although about 70% of the labor force is now employed in Nigeria’s agricultural sector, the government still has to import some food.

Much of the produce cultivated and exported is not meant for human consumption, such as cocoa or natural rubber. Many of the people who work in Nigeria’s fields do so to feed their families with their crops. The agricultural infrastructure was neglected more and more as getting a job in Nigeria’s petrol industry proved much more profitable. This, in turn, stunted both the growth and efficiency of agriculture.

Corruption in Nigeria

Corruption is a very widespread problem throughout the nation, drastically reducing the quality of life for the common populace and stunting economic growth. For example, many of the people with a job in Nigeria’s blooming oil industry rarely reap the benefits of their labor. Over 80% of the revenue flows directly to the government, while 70% of the population lives below the poverty line. This has repeatedly been the cause for violent riots throughout the nation.

The lack of job openings and widespread nepotism have driven many people to start working in Nigeria’s informal sector. Some estimate that about 70% of industrial employment is informal and thus poorly regulated.

Expat Safety in Nigeria

Some Nigerian people resorted to even more radical measures and joined the criminal organizations that plague the country. These can be particularly dangerous to expats living and working in Nigeria. The area of the Niger Delta in particular has long been the most risky place to work in Nigeria. 

Kidnappings of foreigners are used as a common method of extortion. If your job description involves working in Nigeria’s oil-producing sector, please make sure your employer provides the necessary safety precautions, such as security guards and employee compounds. Oil-related work in Nigeria is very lucrative, but it can potentially be perilous. Please stay safe.

Nigeria’s Free Trade Zones

Like many emerging economies, Nigeria has set up a number of Free Trade Zones (FTZ). Their objective is to make doing business in Nigeria more attractive to foreign investors by lowering bureaucratic requirements. At the moment, there are 11 operational FTZs, and many others are under construction.

FTZs make it possible for companies to set up shop and start working in Nigeria without having to worry about taxation and import quotas. Having a stake in Nigeria’s oil industry has proven very lucrative for investors; safety problems in the Niger Delta have often overshadowed the advantages, though.

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