Nigeria can earn forex from japa by exporting doctors – Gov

The Governor of Bauchi State, Bala Mohammed, has said Nigeria should stop worrying about the continued exodus of medical doctors abroad, instead the country should exploit the new trend, popularly called japa, to earn foreign currencies.

He said since Nigerian doctors are much valued abroad, the government should train more doctors and export them abroad to get “repatriation of money.”

Mohammed made the proposition on Tuesday in Abuja when he paid a courtesy visit to the Tertiary Education Trust Fund.

According to a statement on Wednesday by TETFund, the Bauchi governor visited to solicit financial support for his state-owned College of Education, Technical, newly established by the government.

Reflecting on the japa trend, Mohammed said there was no need to cry over spilled milk.

Last year,  the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors said no fewer than 1,417 of their members relocated abroad in search of greener pastures

In November, the House of Representatives Committee on Health revealed that the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Idi-Araba had shut down no fewer than five wards with about 150 beds,  due to a shortage of health workers, resulting from doctors’ exodus.

Speaking on the issue on Tuesday, the Bauchi governor said Nigeria should capitalise on the trend to earn foreign currency.

Mohammed said, “Go by what they want and produce more (doctors) and be exporting and getting repatriation of money coming back not only to Bauchi, but to other states. That’s why we’re repositioning our schools for nursing health technology and university to produce more doctors since we are found to be competent.

“I think we should not be crying over spilled milk. The more they need, the more we should produce for our national need and their need and we need your (TETFund) support in that as well.”

He said the new state-owned college of education was aimed at training manpower for the agriculture, oil and gas sectors, as well as other fields critical to national development.

He said already his administration had invested over N3bn in infrastructure for the institution but it needed more funds, hence, the appeal to TETFund.

“We need a lot of assistance from you immediately to put our educational sector on the path of prosperity and growth. And we have really established the institutional framework, the policy thrust and the big political will to be able to leapfrog the area of education so that we can produce our own human capital needs and even export labour.

“We want to have technicians, some labour that is required in the field. In the agricultural field, we want people who will be teaching our farmers what to do in terms of farming season and so on. And so, we need your support because you did not know about the establishment of this new technical institution, but for our state university, our colleges of education and others you have done so much,” he said.

Responding, the Executive Secretary of TETFund, Sonny Echono, lauded the state government’s effort to invest in education, while pledging support for the newly-established college of education and efforts to train technical manpower.

“So, quickly I’ll be advising my director to liaise with the Honourable Commissioner for Higher Education. We’ll do the formalities of enlistments if we can quickly get that done. So, we can begin to support that. I’ve also noted Your Excellency’s submissions on issues requests for high-impact vocational training and also to address some of the environmental challenges that you face.

“So, we recognise the additional burden you face and the issues around flooding. I’m pleased to let you know that Mr President has approved our 2024 interventions and included in that are provisions for disaster recovery.

“We have also made provisions to carry out some completion on some critical abandoned projects and also to provide security infrastructure, a good number of which Bauchi State will be eligible for consideration.”


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