The Menace Of Brain Drain And the Nigerian Economy

By Sarah Daniel

Brain drain has been a speck in the eyes of this country and has been blurring our vision as a whole. Although peculiar to all sectors of the economy, it is more prevalent in the health sector.

Also known as human capital flight; it is the migration of professionals who have received training at home.

The net benefits of human capital flight for the receiving country are sometimes referred to as ‘brain gain’ while the net costs for the sending country is also known as ‘brain drain’.

Photo Credit: Alamy

In contemporary Nigeria, there is a massive movement of highly trained skilled professionals to advanced countries.

Reasons behind such a massive exodus include poor working conditions, lack of improvement in research and advancement of professional proficiency, poor remuneration and contemptuous treatment from the executive arm of government.

The reasons for Nigeria’s brain drain are not too hard to diagnose. A crippled economy, failing infrastructure, porous security, human rights violations and high unemployment rates just to mention a few.

At the current rate, the mass exodus does not appear to be ending anytime soon.

However the search for greener pastures has adverse effects on the wellbeing of a country.

Brain drain has been identified as one of the factors hampering the growth and development of a nation.

It has been seen as a devastating blow to the economy of Nigeria with shortage of intellectuals that can shape the direction of the nation.

Apparently, one of the major effects of brain drain in Nigeria is the reduction of quality of service due to the absence of skilled personnel in the health sector, tertiary institutions and research centres.

This has resulted in shortage of qualified manpower in critical sectors like education, healthcare, technology etc.

Due to the high level of brain drain in the education sector, Nigerian universities suffer huge losses as a result of mass exodus of seasoned lecturers in the country.

Most times, unqualified individuals are employed to fill the gap. Schools, universities and teaching hospitals are on the verge of collapsing as a result of decline in manpower and output. This has also resulted in production of inexperienced graduates and quack individuals.

The continuous outflow of skilled labour results in retarded growth of the economy.

Scottish economist Adams Smith in his Classical theory of economic growth shows that growth can be realized in two ways; Increase in the amount of numbers of production and increase in the efficiency with which those factors are used.

The downturn on economic growth in Nigeria can be linked to brain drain paying reverence to several factors such as lack of investment, institutional failure, vigorous and multidimensional corruption and inadequate infrastructure that makes life worth living.

The health sector of the country is a mess, low facilities and infrastructures are the order of the day. People have lost trust in the health sector and this is evident in the actions of people able to afford traveling out of the country for medical attention.

Our president is inclusive in search of greener health.

What do you expect from a country where there are little or no skilled and highly innovative experts? Undoubtedly will be a reduction in the level of technological development because only the half baked and less skilled workers are left in the country.

That’s why Nigeria, despite the fact that it got independence in 1960, is still crawling and struggling to meet up with other countries in terms of technology.


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Nigeria keeps having new leaders every four to eight years and keeps promising for a better Nigeria. Most of them get into power and their manifestos are thrown into the gutters. They keep making promises like the sight of a mirage.

People are tired of dreaming that one day Nigeria would rise from being among the poorest countries to a developed country.

Dollar rates keep increasing and the worth of naira is diminishing daily. It is therefore a humble submission that the idea of brain drain is a disadvantage to Nigeria as a people.

It is pertinent that efforts should be made to create an enabling environment by improving upon existent policies in order to foster economic prosperity and development of the nation.

There is a need to invest in infrastructural development and fight corruption head on. We therefore urge the Nigerian government to create a policy that retains our skilled personnel and also entice those working abroad with a clear vision of coming to improve our economy based on their long years of experience.

Sarah Daniel

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