The now brewing discourse around the loss of human capital, dubbed brain drain, is not entirely new in Nigeria, but, of course, it has become more generally concerning as Nigeria loses its best wind-shield wipers to better economies. Stability in all spheres of life is truly enticing and Nigerians, now more than ever, are more aware and willing to take on every opportunity to work remotely and earn in stronger currencies than the naira, or “japa” in countries with better working economies.
In one of the recent Business Day articles, titled “Improving availability and retention of human resources in the health sector,” Dr. Amenze Eguavoen, Head of Programs in NSSF, rightly paints the picture of Nigeria’s reality.
“If you were to ask any young person in Nigeria today what their plans are, professionally or otherwise, they would outline the steps they are taking to “japa” without missing a beat. The exodus of Nigerians is not limited to young professionals, though; it is happening across all cadres. Nigeria is bleeding out its workforce at an alarming rate, and by default, we are providing skilled workers at a highly subsidized rate to economies that are willing to pay the right price in terms of salaries, welfare packages, and societal packages. While migrating Nigerians will miss the social capital they gained in Nigeria—a culture that is rapidly dwindling anyway—many will gladly trade it for a chance at life. One only has to ask how much of this social capital would be needed to survive and thrive in a country riddled with insecurity, poverty, and hunger thereby earning the term “the trenches” by Nigerians online.”
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According to reports, our health, education, and technology sectors are badly hit and are currently facing shortages in the workforce. The medical sector has lost about 8000 professionals and the Nigerian Medical Association fear an imminent collapse of the system and possible need to import Medical Doctors in the near future.
The burning question on everyone’s lips right now is, if Nigeria continues to lose its best players in such a non-reclining manner, how long will it take to recover?