ZTE denies flouting Nigeria’s expatriate quota limit

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A Chinese multinational telecommunications equipment and systems company, ZTE Corporation, has debunked media reports that it had flouted its expatriate quota limits.

Yawei Yang, Head of Administration of the company’s Nigerian subsidiary, ZTE Nigeria Limited, said in Lagos at the weekend that they are committed to investing in the economy despite the recession affecting the telecoms industry.

“It is true that our ZTE China staff routinely visit Nigeria on Business Visa as support group for discussions with telecommunication operators to enable us have good business prospects leading to signing of agreement which unfortunately has not been successful since 2014,” Ms. Yang said.

“It is the practice and this is for most foreign companies operating in Nigeria that those coming for such business discussions come with Business Visas because that is just for short visit and it is allowed under the law.

“They only come around when we are having some business discussions and then travel out of Nigeria within a short time. The law is there for all to see.”

Ms. Yang’s statement came two months after members of organised Labour picketed ZTE Communication office in Lagos over allegations of expatriate quota abuse.

At the picketing, which involved members of the United Labour Congress of Nigeria and Private Telecommunication and Communication Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, the Chinese company was accused of bringing in unskilled Chinese workers and paying them large salaries while they are trained by Nigerians who earn a fraction of their pay.

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ZTE Corporation is one of the leading multinational ICT solution and service providers in the world, operating in 160 countries with a total turnover of $15 billion and over 60,000 staff.

Ms. Yang said ZTE Nigeria Limited has always been above board regarding Nigerian laws, including those relating to taxes and pensions.

She, however, regretted that the economic recession has adversely affected the telecommunications sector which, she said, had led to the redundancy of some Nigerian and Chinese staff.

“We recognized the current situation in Nigeria but are going to maintain our high standard in terms of service delivery and our commitment to good welfare package for our staff,” Ms. Yang said.

“We have faith in the resilience of this country and her people and will continue to do pur part to ensuring a return of boom in the Nigerian telecom industry.”

Ms. Yang noted that since the Nigerian arm of ZTE Corporation began operations in 2002, it had been involved in government and telecommunication project for operators in the country.

“We are among the few telecom companies that allow our staff to unionise, we have generous welfare packages that include trainings and sundry allowances even including mobile phone allowance because of our belief in the development of the local workforce.

“We have not outsourced any of our operations outside Nigeria as some telecom firms are currently doing to cut costs, only 17 per cent of our entire workforce are foreigners and we have always operated within the ambit of the Extant Immigration Laws and Regulations of Nigeria 2015 and all other administrative directives.”

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