Home Business The Nigerian economy: why citizens are migrating en masse and what’s next

The Nigerian economy: why citizens are migrating en masse and what’s next


Nigeria has about half of West Africa’s population with approximately 206 million people (2020). Nigeria has a very young population aged around 30 years and below, accounting for about 70 percent of the population (according to United Nations projections in 2020, approximately 43% of Nigeria’s population is children aged 0-14, 19% aged 15-24 years and about 62% are younger than 25).

It has one of the largest youth populations in the world with several rich natural resources such as oil, natural gas, tin, iron ore, coal, limestone, niobium, lead, zinc and arable land. It is Africa’s largest economy and an oil exporter (with the continent’s largest natural gas reserves).

However, due to the benefits of these resources to the nation, the growth of economic problems and security challenges continues.

Nigeria currently has high levels of unemployment and poverty, as of 2021, the total number of unemployed people in Nigeria was estimated to peak at about 6.3 million.

The unemployment rate in 2021 was estimated at 9.79%, an increase of 0.07% from 2020. Nigeria’s unemployment rate was 9.71% in 2020, an increase of 1.18% from 2019. This is the reason why some experts have predicted that the unemployment rate in Nigeria will rise to 32.5% in 2021 – with a further increase in 2022.

While the country’s poverty rate is projected to rise from 40.1% in 2019 to 45.2% in 2022, this means that nearly 100 million Nigerians will live in poverty by 2022 unless urgent measures are taken measures to stop it. In addition to the above, the Economic Intelligence Group (EIU) ranked Lagos (Nigeria’s commercial nerve center) as the second most stressed city in the world.

This was measured using factors such as safety, security, socio-political stability, population density, levels of air, light and noise pollution, as well as congestion, unemployment, governance and mental health. Mumbai in India has been named the most stressful city in the world.

Some of the problems facing Nigeria range from poor economic management to poor leadership problems, lack of well-tailored policies to address modern challenges such as poor education system, health care systems, inefficient electricity supply system, corruption, falling prices of crude oil, excessive dependence on crude oil, lack of economic diversification, lack of security, kidnapping, nepotism, marginalization, among other serious problems.

While it is important for government at all levels to realign their mitigation strategies, it is important to find ways to close these gaps. For example, the government should prioritize education as it remains a top priority for parents. Unfortunately, decades of underfunding the sector have negatively affected the quality of teachers, lecturers, and poor training infrastructure in the sector. The country also has the highest number of out-of-school children, estimated by UNICEF at more than 18.5 million.

All this is responsible for the sector’s decline, in addition to regular strikes by national university teachers who have long protested against low salaries, poor educational infrastructure and inadequate benefits. For example, teachers of national universities have been on strike for more than seven months, but no way to cancel the strike has been achieved.

Interestingly, most of the politicians and top government officials study in schools abroad in countries like UK, Canada, USA, Canada, Dubai, etc. and hence one wonders why the strike has been delayed.

The lack of adequate investment in public educational institutions has contributed to an increase in the number of expensive private schools and universities for middle- and high-income families seeking higher standards. These schools are also considered to pale in comparison to the quality of education received in developed countries.

Also, while it is important to note that the education and training of our workforce can play an important role in determining how well our economy performs, reports have noted a steady increase in the number of Nigerian skilled labor migrating or planning to migrate out of the country. Nigeria because of the current economic situation. This set of middle class population in Nigeria wants to experience better quality of life, security of life and property and above all social security guarantees.

Another reason Nigerians migrate is the poor public healthcare system that leaves citizens with no alternative but the private healthcare system which is more expensive compared to the quality of public healthcare available abroad. Perhaps this is the reason why the top government officials who are supposed to take care of the necessary are also themselves looking for better medical services abroad.

Interestingly, reports also said that before the dawn of Covid-19, almost 5,000 people were leaving the country monthly for various forms of treatment abroad, and according to the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD), about N576 billion ($1.2 billion) was lost ). on medical tourism annually. This amount can be invested in the development of the country’s healthcare system. This is about N100 billion less than the 632.7 billion people allocated to the health sector in the 2021 budget (also before Covid-19, about 80 million Nigerians lived on less than the equivalent of $1.90 a day and The World Bank has predicted that this number could increase to almost 100 million by 2023 unless urgent measures are taken to manage it)

Furthermore, a report by PriceWaterhouseCoopers (2016) states that Nigerians spend $1 billion annually on medical tourism, 60 percent of which is on four major specialties, namely, oncology, orthopedics, nephrology and cardiology.

This is nearly 20 percent of total public health spending, including the salaries of all public sector doctors, nurses, and other health workers, as well as other health programs such as malaria, tuberculosis, polio, and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/ Prevention of Acquired Illness Syndrome immunodeficiency (AIDS).

While the main problem in the sector is brain drain syndrome, lack of funding, dilapidated structures and outdated equipment, industrial strikes, the culture of Nigerian preferring anything foreign and negative attitude of health workers are the main challenges faced sector (with the Covid-19 pandemic in 2021, 33,000 of the 75,000 registered medical doctors of the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) left the country, leaving 42,000 to serve all health facilities in a country of over 200 million people. The ratio became 1:3500 as opposed to the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended standard ratio of one doctor per 600 patients.

It is worth mentioning a survey conducted by Deutsche Welle (DW) in April 2021 which reported that 88% of doctors in Nigeria are considering migration and that Nigeria is currently experiencing a mass migration of its health workers to developed countries.

Also, headline inflation in Nigeria was reported to be 18% in May 2021, while food inflation was 23%, the highest in two decades, and more than half of Nigerians are currently underemployed or underemployed. unemployed.

Generally, most Nigerians are unhappy with the current state of the nation and this continues to push the mass emigration of young Nigerians to greener pastures abroad with fears that the situation will continue to affect the socio-economic well-being of citizens. This is caused by growing insecurity, unemployment, lack of infrastructure, hunger and the failure of various levels of government to provide young people with the opportunity to live the life they want and realize their dreams.

This being said, it is important to understand the plight of skilled young Nigerians who are looking for greener pastures due to the government’s inability to deal with socio-economic, security and other issues affecting the citizens, which has led to a mass exodus of more skilled Nigerian youths migrating to Canada , Australia, Great Britain and the USA. Interestingly, over the past five years, this migration growth has increased and continues to increase.

In 2015, Canada implemented a points-based admissions system for skilled immigrants, in which applicants are evaluated based on age, work experience, education level and language proficiency. Australia has also adopted the same strategy to stimulate its economy.

The current level of poverty and hardship is alarming and it is therefore important that government at all levels work together to nip it in the bud and provide better solutions that can help alleviate the suffering of the Nigerian.

It is also important to note that Nigerians did not experience this like before the 1967 civil war and some of the solutions I would suggest to the government is to restructure the current political and economic system as well as the constitution to reflect true federalism this would help reduce marginalization , insecurity in addition to promoting diversity and inclusion of all.

In addition, measures such as the introduction of state police, massive job creation and decentralization of the governance system to help improve service delivery, especially at the grassroots level, will help reduce poverty.

Finally, deterrence to citizen migration can be reduced by governments prioritizing funding for the education sector to empower citizens with free education and professional degrees, as well as providing the necessary infrastructure and funding for the health sector. It is also necessary to ensure regular electricity supply for the development of small business and production.

Improving security intelligence, infrastructure and recruitment of more security personnel will also add value and basic amenities like provision of good drinking water, food for citizens etc will also help.

Most importantly, training Nigerians, especially the youth, in modern agricultural strategies and use of technology will help increase efficiency and create more business and employment opportunities.

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