Britain’s heavy levy weighs on Nigerians - CNBC Africa

Britain’s heavy levy weighs on Nigerians

Western Africa

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Nigeria's Minister of Foreign Affairs Olugbenga Ashiru told CNBC Africa that India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nigeria and Ghana will be subject to the bond levy.

“I invited the British High Commissioner to Nigeria to my office and I expressed the displeasure of the Nigerian government to the plan to institute that bond payment. I made it clear to him that that type of decision, that type of policy, will wrong contrary to spirit of the commonwealth and also its not in the interests of bilateral relation between Nigeria and the United Kingdom.”

British ambassador to Nigeria Andrew Pocock has expressed concerns over the leakage of information about the levy, which is still in its planning stages and could be implemented in November.

The British government is however adamant that the pilot study, involving the use of migrant bonds or deposits for “high risk” individuals, is not seen as being aimed at any particular country.

The levy is set to target first time applicants for visas to the United Kingdom but the controversial plan is likely to hurt relations between Nigeria and its European counterpart.

 “It will hinder the free movement and people to people contact that we have had over the years. We hope that the British government will a have a rethink on this matter and not go ahead to implement it,” Ashiru added.

Should Britain pass the levy, the Nigerian government stands firm on its stance to protest against it on behalf of its citizens who will be affected.

The policy recently caused an uproar in India, forcing UK Prime Minister David Cameron to slam the breaks on the migrant bond plan, as it also threatened the UK’s attempt to boost its trade relations with the Asian county.