Magically, the minister of labour and productivity, Chris Ngige, has concluded the Nigeria exodus debate on TV: “Who said we don’t have enough doctors? We have more than enough. You can quote me. There is nothing wrong in them travelling out”. The minister does not care if they keep leaving because Nigeria has enough. Though it is hard to argue with a man who has access to better data, he has a point – we always have surplus, in Nigeria, even though we live in scarcity! Go Nigeria.
Meanwhile, Mr Ngige said he is not worried about doctors leaving the country because ”there are enough doctors”.
When asked by the presenter to comment on the brain drain in the country and if the deliberate recruitment of Nigerian doctors by foreign embassies is detrimental to the nation’s health sector, the minister said, “No, I am not worried about doctors leaving the country, we have a surplus.
“If you have a surplus, you export. It happened some years ago here. I was taught chemistry and biology by Indian teachers in my secondary school days. There is a surplus in their country, and we also have a surplus in the medical profession in our country. I can tell you this. In my area, we have excess,” he said.
According to him, ”I know a couple of them who practise abroad but set up medical centres back home. They have a CAT scan, MRI scan which even the government cannot maintain. So, I don’t see any loss.
“Who said we don’t have enough doctors? We have more than enough. You can quote me. There is nothing wrong in them travelling out. When they go abroad, they earn money and send them back home here. Yes, we have foreign exchange earnings from them and not just oil.”
Mr Ngige said brain drain would only be inimical ”when, for instance, neurosurgeons travel and we don’t have neurosurgeons here”.
If you are a student writing any exam, do not make that case: Nigeria does not have excess doctors. We produce less than 1,600 yearly with about 1,000 leaving. By 2025, when most elderly doctors retire, the equilibrium will crash. The only professional people we have excess in Nigeria are Politicians.