YENAGOA, Nigeria – Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday signed an executive order aimed at boosting the local production of goods and create jobs in the west African country.
Buhari, a 75-year-old former military ruler, has frequently spoken about ending the OPEC member's dependence on oil exports while also creating jobs by boosting local food production.
In 2015, months after Buhari came to power in May of that year, the central bank restricted access to foreign currency to import certain goods in a bid to stimulate local manufacturing.
I have repeatedly emphasized my vision for a Nigeria that produces what it consumes. To attain that vision, it is vital that local companies get preference in planning, designing and executing Sci, Tech & Eng. projects. The EO I signed today is an important step in that journey. pic.twitter.com/ZLy1N8ASst— Muhammadu Buhari (@MBuhari) February 5, 2018
The president "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'," said the presidency in a statement circulated Monday.
"The executive order also prohibits the ministry of interior from giving visas to foreign workers whose skills are readily available in Nigeria," added the statement.
Around four out of every 10 people in the country's workforce were unemployed or underemployed by the end of September, according to data released by the statistics office in December.
The order states that consideration will only be given to a foreign professional, "where it is certified by the appropriate authority that such expertise is not available in Nigeria."
The country, which has Africa's largest population and biggest economy, in 2016 fell into its a recession largely caused by low oil prices and militant attacks on energy facilities in the Niger Delta region.
It emerged from recession in the second quarter of 2017, largely on higher on oil prices.