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Doctors free to leave Nigeria, We Have Surplus says Ngige

**8 million jobs have been created. By Eniola Daniel
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, has says doctors who feel they want to relocate in search of greener pastures are free to do so as the nation has enough medical personnel to cater for the population. Ngige said this yesterday on Channels Television’s programme Sunrise Daily while responding to a question on brain drain and the deliberate recruitment of Nigerian doctors by foreign embassies in Nigeria to the detriment of the nation’s health sector. The Minister said there was nothing wrong with doctors leaving the country as they would continue to send foreign exchange home which could, in turn, grow the economy. He said, “I am not worried about doctors leaving the country. We have surplus. If you have surplus, you export. It happened some years ago. I was taught chemistry and biology by Indian teachers in my secondary school days, they are surplus in their country. We have surplus in the medical profession in our country. I can tell you this. It’s my area, we have excess. When asked about not having doctors to man rural areas, Ngige said, “Who said we don’t have enough doctors? We have more than enough, they go out, they sharpen their skill. 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. We have foreign exchange earnings from them and not just oil.” Those guys go there, they are better trained because of the facilities they have there. “I know some of them who have come back home and open up centres here. I know a doctor from America who left in the 80s, we were in medical school together, now he has facility in Imo State; he has about four facilities in Maryland where he’s practising, and so you tell me that it’s a brain drain. They set up medical centres back home, and in their centre, they have CAT scan, MRI scan which even the government cannot maintain. So, I don’t see any loss,” . When asked if brain drain was not hurting the health sector, he said, “Brain drain will only be inimical when for instance neurosurgeons travel and we don’t have neurosurgeons here.” Nigeria is believed to be one of the most affected countries in the world as regards emigration of medical doctors, with about 12 doctors living the country every week. On job creation, Ngige said, “Lot of jobs have been created, numbering about 8 million now. ‏What we discovered when we came is that the economy wasn't good. An economy where oil was selling at $116 a barrel, $2.2m barrels a day for many years and yet they had no savings. Job creation is not only for the government. You don't leave it only for the government. Most of the jobs created are supposed to be in the private sector. Rice production has created new groups of millionaires, the farmers.

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