Happening Globally

Brain Drain: Directors Champion Call To Action To Exploit Emigration Trend

The Institute of Directors Nigeria (IoD) has championed a call to action by individuals, organisations, stakeholders and government to drive policy considerations aimed at exploiting emigration trends in favour of Nigeria. Dr Lucy Newman, International Consultant and Policy Advisory, said this at the IoD members’ evening with the theme: “Converting Brain Drain to Brain Gain: Harnessing Local Talent for Competitive Advantage” on Thursday in Lagos. Newman, noting that migration is a natural human reaction, observed that migration had now become voluntary by youthful professional and unskilled migrants from jurisdictions with failing systems to perceived more stable jurisdictions. She said that ratio of Sub-Saharan African migrants to Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries would increase sixfold in the coming decades, from about 0.4 per cent in 2010 to 2.4 per cent by 2050. She, however, noted that countries with emigration trends such as Philippines and Mexico had created migration policies that allowed and encouraged emigration. She stated that the Labor Migration Policy of the Philippines managed migration flows using a four-pronged strategy of regulation, protection, reintegration, and support to families. “The Philippine Act of 1995 (Republic Act 8042) institutes policies of overseas employment and establishes a higher standard of protection and promotion of the welfare of migrant workers and their families and overseas Filipinos in distress. “While the Mexico 3×1 Programme for Migrants is a matching fund scheme that seeks to direct the money sent by hometown associations abroad (collective remittances) to productive uses. “The federal, state and municipal governments contribute to the program 3x the contributions sent by migrants abroad and now The Economist [March 2023] reported that Mexico now receives more remittances than China. “In Kenya, the Central Bank of Kenya, reported that Kenya is now earning more foreign exchange from diaspora remittances than each of its major exports – coffee, tea and horticulture in spite of persistent criticism of a poor diaspora policy. “For Nigeria, Price Waterhouse in its publication titled Strength from Abroad The Economic Power of Nigeria’s Diaspora, inferred that in 2017, Nigeria accounted for a third of diaspora remittances to Sub-Saharan Africa. “It estimated that migrant remittances to Nigeria could grow to US$34.8 billion in 2023 but we have to ‘build the dam’ control the flow so that we are using it for development of the nation,” she said. Newman emphasised the need for Nigeria to invest in her people by investing in sectors that are people-oriented and implementing policies that engage with those in diaspora from home front. She charged citizens, and individuals to embrace personal charity projects such as scholarships to indigent children and youths within the neighbourhood, host locations and hometowns to make the youth feel the care of the elite. Newman also urged organisations to consider Corporate Social Responsibility as a social security investment, reconsider innovative forms of employment and build strong corporate alumni networks. To Nigeria, she stressed that the national face of the current and aspiring diaspora community – Nigerian Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), should be made fit-for-purpose, futuristic and transformational and not a government propaganda machinery. Newman emphasised that government and corporate institutions need to get more engaging and react with empathy via town hall meetings, polls, and media chats to earn the trust of the citizens. “In 2018, Nigeria launched a Nigerian Labour Migration Policy with the support of the International Organisation for Migration [IOM]. “Not many Nigerians know about the policy and beyond the publicity about the launch event, there is no information on the implementing structures or its impact from 2018 and needs to change immediately. “To the IoD, while the Young Directors Forum is highly commendable, the mentoring programme is refreshing, there are more areas for consideration for the institute. “The IoD must advocate for substantive improvement in corporate members’ Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) practice and engage industry regulators on effective compliance and social impact on host communities. “The institute must ensure director capacity development interventions offer corporate policy content applicable to social investments as well as monitoring and evaluation of CSR investments and projects,” she said. Dr Ije Jidenma, President of IoD, said in this era of massive exodus of some of our brightest brains, it had become very pertinent as a nation to rethink our talent management strategy to reflect the resilient nature of our local talents. She noted that competition for acquisition and retention of talents was no longer local as the lure of foreign companies and climes had taken a different dimension in the last two to three years. Jidenma posited that as the current corporate governance models of today’s organisations were becoming unfit for organisations of the future, so also does human capital dynamics require new management styles and systems. “Companies now lose staff, not because of what they did or did not do right, but more for what our nation did not do right. “So even when you may have the most robust Human resources management systems, the social environment of our country could still make you lose staff. “There is therefore a need for directors to learn how to deal with this new scourge and take full advantage of the available resources to run our industry,” she said. She noted that the IoD Nigeria Members’ Evening had become part of the institute’s tradition for members to learn from high-level executives on issues and trends that are germane to the business environment while networking. This, she said, was because all organisations, whatever the size or line of business, required quality external resources to achieve its goals with networking was an important factor in achieving this. “Let me assure you that IoD Nigeria will continue to show greater concern and commitment to work with all stakeholders to engender a business-friendly environment for robust economic growth. “We have continued to canvass for good corporate governance practices of all private and public sector organisations in the country and will continue to partner with all business leaders from both the public and private sectors to push forward our innovative ideas for our collective benefit,” she said.

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