• Monday, July 22, 2024
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BusinessDay

The practicalities of japa

Many Nigerians ready to checkout now as economy bites harder

“I must apologise. Yes, online channels fail. But no doubt it is as a result of the deluge of online transactions that hit the banking industry. But it is being resolved.”

The words attributed to the Central Bank Governor of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele in an address to journalists at the end of the Monetary Policy Committee meeting on Tuesday.

While comments around his apology were generally unimpressed and there were odd parts of the apology which appeared to contain both veiled and open warnings to the banking sector, the thing that most stood out to me was the fact that there was an actual admission that the infrastructure was not up to scratch and the regular Nigerian was feeling it.

While for some, it was the mundane, 45 mins for transfer to come through to buy suya, there is no doubt there have been more severe impacts to individuals caused by payments not reaching where they should be in time.
Emigration in itself is not a bad thing and it is a phenomenon that occurs in every part of the world.

Most western countries will be able to tell you how many of their citizens have emigrated at any given time and conversely, how many “new” citizens they have gained through their own immigration schemes.

If a country is able to maintain a healthy balance between emigration and immigration, there is potentially a higher probability that growth and prosperity lie ahead, assuming the immigrants’ contribution to society more than offsets that of the emigrants.

The negative impact of emigration on Nigeria will continue to be significant. To address these challenges, Nigeria must invest in education and training programs to develop a new generation of highly skilled workers

The challenges to growth occur when the rate of emigration far exceeds that of immigration and when the immigrants’ contribution does not offset that of the citizens they are replacing.

Nigeria has seen very aggressive emigration of its most talented citizens over the last 40 years and there are no signs this will abate any time soon.

In reality, the African continent, and Nigeria specifically is proving to be a good hunting ground for cheap labour to drive the growth of other more developed economies.

But so what? People have left, what does that have to do with failing bank transfers?

Brain Drain:

One of the negative impacts of emigration on a country’s technology-based workforce is the loss of highly skilled and experienced workers. When skilled workers, such as engineers, scientists, and IT professionals, leave a country, it creates a brain drain that can have significant consequences on the country’s technology sector.

These individuals often possess critical skills that are essential to a country’s technological development, and their absence can result in a significant loss of expertise and innovation.

The negative impact of Brain Drain on developing countries is even more pronounced as many projects are still in developmental stages and may never reach completion to give the desired impacts.

Lack of Domestic Talent and Reduced Productivity:

Another negative impact of emigration on a country’s technology-based workforce is the lack of domestic talent. If highly skilled workers are leaving a country, it can be challenging to find talented individuals to replace them. This can lead to a shortage of domestic talent in the technology sector, which can limit the sector’s growth and innovation.

When skilled workers leave a country, it can reduce productivity and slow down technological progress as new technologies are often developed by highly skilled workers, who are then able to transfer their knowledge and skills to other workers.

Without these highly skilled workers, the development of new technologies becomes stagnant, leading to a reduction in overall productivity.

read also: Nigeria’s ‘not my problem’ problem is fuelling ‘Japa’

Decreased Investment:

A third negative impact of emigration on a country’s technology-based workforce is a decrease in investment. If highly skilled workers are leaving a country, it can be challenging to attract investment in the technology sector.

Investors may be hesitant to invest in a country with a shortage of skilled workers, and this can lead to a decline in investment, research, and development.

As a result, the country may fall behind in terms of technological innovation, which can have long-term economic consequences.

The failed payments issues which have plagued the country for months were not caused by the change in cash policy unleashed by the Central Bank.

They started many years ago as the country paid little to no attention as critical talent walked through our steamy airports for a chance at a better life. The failed payments we see today are the results of the first domino dropping over 4 decades ago.

Overall, the negative impact of emigration on Nigeria will continue to be significant. To address these challenges, Nigeria must invest in education and training programs to develop a new generation of highly skilled workers, as well as policies that encourage highly skilled workers to stay and work in the country.

A potential low-hanging fruit would be to formalise the emigration process with countries that need the talent and create a loopback of knowledge and of course cash by way of remittances. The yawning gap for state intervention is what can turn this negative into a plus.

Mordi was previously COO of Carbon (the lending fintech) & immediate past head of digital lending at Access Bank, Twitter: @epmordi