igeria has recently seen an increase in the number of qualified employees travelling to other nations, especially the West. Many of these exiles are graduates of government-subsidized Nigerian universities. Many of these emigrant workers bring years of experience and training from other nations with them.
Many people are concerned about the impact of these human capital exports on Nigeria’s faltering sectors, particularly the health sector, which has seen a mass exodus of physicians and nurses leave in recent years.
Dr. Chris Ngige, Nigeria’s Labour Minister, has stated that he is unconcerned about the rising number of Doctors being exported to foreign nations, saying, “We have surplus Doctors, and if we have a surplus, we export.”
Many people were surprised by this assertion, given that Nigeria has one of the lowest doctor-to-patient ratios in the world. This ratio of 1 doctor per 5,000 people is significantly lower than the WHO-recommended 1 doctor per 600 people.
To put things in perspective, the UK has a doctor-to-patient ratio of one to 300. As more Doctors from around the world come to live and work in the UK, the ratio is expected to improve.
The causes of Nigeria’s continuous brain drain are easy to identify. Young people are fleeing the country for a variety of reasons, including the damaged economy, crumbling infrastructure, leaky security, human rights violations, and high unemployment rates. The enormous migration does not look to be slowing down any time soon.
Nigeria has spent billions of naira on training its trained workforce, only to lose its capital to other countries as an unintended result of this drain. Nigeria is thought to have spent more than $2 billion on educating Doctors who have since migrated.
According to the United Nations Commission on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), each African professional who leaves for another country costs Africa $184,000.
Some, on the other hand, see the huge migration of qualified professionals as a good thing. Exporting our brightest minds, they believe, is an investment in Nigeria’s future. This belief, however irrational, is not without merit.
Nigerians got $25.1 billion in 2018 from Nigerians living abroad, which is three times the country’s capital expenditure budget. Nigeria earned $18.2 billion from oil production and export.
Nigeria’s Minister of Labour believes that the country has an excess of Doctors, thus exporting is natural and rational.
The reality of this assertion, however, remains to be seen, as the country’s health-care system currently has one of the lowest doctor-to-patient ratios in the world. Doctors are overworked and on call for several days at a time.
This situation contradicts the Minister of Labour’s claim and demonstrates that the country does actually have a shortage of skilled labour. According to the Nigeria Medical Association, the country’s 40,000 Doctors are far insufficient to meet the country’s 200 million-strong population.
This issue is not just confined to the medical field. Other key areas experiencing a shortage of competent personnel include science, technology, and education. The explanation is not implausible.
A serious lack of suitable facilities and adequate salary is a primary driver of qualified scientists and lecturers emigrating. The most qualified teachers generally migrate towards lucrative offers abroad, leaving Nigeria’s public-funded tertiary institutions with insufficient manpower.
This leaves those left behind with a great burden to bear. According to current statistics, Nigeria has one of the worst lecturer-to-student ratios in the world, with alarming figures such as one lecturer for every 122 pupils at the University of Abuja.
It is clear that Nigeria’s leaders must take proactive measures to prevent bright Nigerians from leaving the country.
Several vital industries will be launched as a result of strong governance and administration, ensuring that the populace has access to jobs. This would almost certainly result in improved economic opportunities and, ultimately, a path for the industry’s growth.
It is also important to make sure that preparations are made for the construction of social security measures, better infrastructure, and a higher standard of living in general. These factors all help to improve the country’s overall quality of life. These are, however, only precautionary suggestions.
To achieve long-term reform, the country must enhance the wages and working conditions of many of the country’s key employees. The provision of suitable infrastructure and a competitive wage are only two of the many ways that the country’s professionals might be persuaded to stay and contribute to the country’s development.